PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID
THE G UN- BOA T S E R IE S .
ON A GUN-BOAT
AUTHOR OF "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES," "THE GO-AHEAD
PORTER & COAXES.
CINCINNATI, O. :
R. W. CARROLL & CO.
POPULAR JUVENILE BOOKS.
BY HARRY CASTLEMON.
THE GUN-BOAT SERIES.
6 volumes, in a neat box, $7.50
Each volume handsomely Illustrated.
FRANK, THE YOUNG NATURALIST, . . . $1.25
FRANK IN THE WOODS, 1.25
FRANK ON THE PRAIRIE, 1.25
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT, . 1.25
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG, 1.25
FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI, . . 1.25
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
THE GO-AHEAD SERIES.
3 volumes, in a neat box, $4.50
Each volume handsomely Illustrated.
TOM NEWCOMBE, $1.50
Go AHEAD, 1.50
No Moss, 1.50
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES.
3 volumes, in a neat box, $3.75
Each volume handsomely illustrated.
FRANK AMONG THE RANCHEROS, . . . $1.25
FRANK AT DON CARLOS RANCHO, . . . 1.25
FRANK IN THE MOUNTAINS, 1.25
Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid.
Entered according to Act of Congress?, in the year 1865, by
K. W. CARHOLL & CO.,
In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of theHJnited States,
for the Southern District of Ohio!
ir n t m t s .
CHAPTER I. PAQI
IK THE NAVY 7
LEARNING THE ROPES 17
SQUARING THE YARDS 30
A MIDNIGHT ALARM 42
A DISCOMFITED REBEL 63
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT 64
ON A GUN-BOAT 78
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES 89
A UNION FAMILY 99
A SPUNKY REBEL 112
CHAPTER XI. PAH,
FBANK. A PEISONEE 124
THE ESCAPE 131
THE FAITHFUL NEGKO ~ 152
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS ICt
THE RESCUE , ... 178
A FBIEND IN NEED 195
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION 216
ALMOST BETRAYED ,... 229
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT
,ELL, Frank, did you bring home the
evening s paper ? " inquired Mrs. Nel
son, as her son entered the room
where she was sitting.
" Yes, ma am. Here it is ! " an
swered Frank, producing it. " But
there is no news in it. The Army
of the Potomac has not moved yet. I don t see
what makes them wait so long. Why don t
McClellan go to work and thrash the rebels?"
" You must remember that the rebels have about
as many men as we have," answered his mother.
" Perhaps, if McClellan should undertake to thrash
the rebels, as you say, he would get whipped him
8 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" That makes no difference," answered Frank
" If I was in his place, and the rebels should whip
me, it wouldn t do any good, for I d renew the
battle every day, as long as I had a man left."
It was toward the close of the first year of
the war, during the " masterly inactivity " of the
Army of the Potomac. For almost eight months
McClellan had been lying idle in his encampment,
holding in check that splendid army, which, with
one blow, could have crushed out the rebellion, and
allowing the rebels ample time to encircle their
capital with fortifications, before which the blood of
loyal men was to be poured out like water. The
people of the North were growing impatient ; and
" On to Richmond ! " was the cry from every part
of the land.
From the time Fort Sumter had fallen, Frank
had been deeply interested in what was going on.
The insults which had been heaped upon the flag
under which his grandfather had fought and died,
made the blood boil in his veins, and he often
wished that he could enlist with the brave de
fenders of his country. He grew more excited
each day, as the struggle went on, and the news of
a triumph or defeat would fire his spirit,, and he
IN THE NAVY.
longed to be standing side by side with the soldiers
of the Union, that he might share in their triumphs,
or assist in retrieving their disasters.
He was left almost alone now, for many of the
boys of his acquaintance had shouldered their
muskets and gone off with the others ; and that
very day he had met Harry Butler, who had en
listed as a private, wearing the uniform of a lieu
tenant, which he had won by his bravery at Fort
He had never said one word tojiis mother about
enlisting, for he was an only son, and he dreaded
to ask her permission. But that mother s quick
eye easily read what was going on in her son s
mind. She had Puritan blood in her veins ; her
ancestors had fought in the war of the Revolution,
and she had resolved that, if Frank wished to go,
she would give her full consent. A mother s heart
alone can tell the struggle it had cost her to come
to this determination.
"I ve got a letter from Archie, also," said
His mother took it from his hand, and read as
10 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
PORTLAND, March 18, 1862.
I am about to tell you something which you will cal.
strange news. Father has at last given his consent to my
going to war, provided you will go too. He says that if
I go, I must have you with me, to take care of me, and
keep me straight. I suppose he thinks I will never go if
I am obliged to wait for you, for he says your mother
will not consent to your going. You can ask her, any
way. You know you always wanted to have a hand in
putting down this rebellion.
If we go at all, I think the best plan is to enter the
navy. It is a much better branch of the service than the
army the discipline is better; there are no long marches
to endure; and, wherever you go, your house goes with
Now, be sure and do your best, for now is our chance,
if ever. Please write immediately, for I am afraid father
will change his mind.
Yours, in haste, ARCHIBALD WINTERS.
When Mrs. Nelson had read the letter, she
handed it back to her son without saying a word.
" Well, mother, what do you think of it ? " in
" The matter rests entirely with you, my son,"
answered Mrs. Nelson, dropping her sewing into
her lap. " Do just as you think best."
" Do you say I may go?" inquired Frank, joy
IN THE NAVY. 13
" Certainly. You have my full consent to go,
if you wish to."
" Oh, mother," exclaimed Frank, springing up
and throwing his arms around her neck, "I wish
I had known, long ago, that you were willing to
have me go."
" Where are you going, Frank ? " inquired Julia,
who had a vague suspicion of what was going on.
" I m off to the war," answered her brother.
" I am going into the navy with Archie."
" Oh, Frank," she exclaimed, bursting into tears,
"you must not go. There s enough in the army
without you. You will certainly get shot."
"I ll never be shot in the back," said Frank;
" you may rely on that. But you do n t suppose
that every one who goes to war gets shot, do you?
I may be one of the lucky ones ; so do n t cry
But Julia could not control her feelings. The
thought that her brother was to be exposed to the
slightest danger was terrible ; and Frank, seeing
that it would do no good to talk to her, left the
room, and went into his study, where he wrote to
Archie, stating that he would start for Portland
the next day. He spent the forenoon in wander-
12 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
ing about the house and orchard, taking a long and
lingering look at each familiar object. He locked
the museum, and gave the key to Julia, who was
close at his side wherever he went. Even Brave
seemed to have an idea of what was going on, for
he followed his master about, and would look into
his face and whine, as though he was well aware
that they were about to be separated.
Immediately after dinner, the carriage which was
to convey Frank and his baggage to the Julia
Burton drew up before the door. The parting
time had come. " Good-by, mother," said Frank,
as he stood at the door, ready to go.
" Good-by, my son," said Mrs. Nelson, strain
ing him to her bosom, and struggling hard to keep
back a sob. "We may never see you again, but
I hope I shall never hear that you shrunk from
Frank could not reply his breast was too full
for utterance: and hastily kissing his sister, and
shaking Hannah s hand, he hurried down the walk
toward the gate. He had not gone far before
Brave came bounding after him.
" Go back, old fellow," said Frank, caressing the
faithful animal ; " you can t go with me this time.
IN THE NAVY. 13
it will be a long while before you and I will go
any-where together again. Go back, sir."
Brave understood his master perfectly; and he
turned and trotted toward the house, looking back
now and then, and whining, as if urging his master
to allow him to go too. Frank did not stop to
look back, but sprang into the carriage, and the
driver closed the door after him, and mounted to
his seat and drove off. He had scarcely time to
get his baggage on board the steamer before she
moved off into the stream. And Frank was glad
it was so, for the longer he remained in sight of
the village, the harder grew the struggle to leave
it. But, at length, every familiar object was left
behind, and being surrounded by new scenes, Frank
gradually recovered his usual spirits.
In two days he arrived at Portland, and as he
was getting off the cars, he was seized by Archie,
who had come to the depot to meet him.
"I m glad to see you," said the latter; "it is
lucky that you wrote just as you did, for father
has said a dozen times that I can t go. But I
guess he will not refuse me, now that you are
" I hope not," said Frank ; " we can go as well
14 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
as any one else. If every one was to stay at horn*.,
we should n t have any army at all."
"That s just what I told father; but he didn t
seem to see it. He says there are some TV ho
ought to go, for they are of no earthly use here;
but he thinks that boys like you and me ought to
stay at home until we know enough to take care
But Mr. Winters did not raise many objections
when he found that Frank had obtained his moth
er s consent; and, on the next day but one after
Frank s arrival, he accompanied the boys on board
the receiving-ship, where they were speedily exam
ined and sworn in. Each was then supplied with a
bag and hammock, and two suits of clothes ; and,
when they were rigged out in their blue shirts and
wide pants, they made fine-looking sailors. At
Mr. Winters request they were granted permis
sion to remain on shore until a draft of men was
ready to be sent away. The boys were allowed to
do pretty much as they pleased while they re
mained, for, as they were to leave so soon, Mr.
Winters could not find it in his heart to raise any
objections to the plans they proposed for their
amusement. Besides, he knew that Archie was in
IN THE NAVY. 15
good hands, for Frank was a boy of excellent
habits, and possessed sufficient moral courage to
say no, when tempted to do wrong; and, as he
had great influence over his cousin, Mr. Winters
knew their conduct would be such as he could
At length, one morning, when they went on
board the receiving-ship to report as usual, they
were ordered to present themselves at the depot
at two o clock that afternoon, with their bags and
hammocks, in readiness to take the train for the
West. The boys were a good deal disappointed
when they heard this, for the idea of serving out
their year on the Mississippi River was not an
agreeable one. They had hoped to be ordered to
the coast. But, as Archie remarked, it was " too
late to back out," and they were obliged to submit.
When Archie came to bid farewell to his parents,
he found it to be a much more difficult task than
he had expected. The tears would come to his
eyes, in spite of himself, as he embraced his
mother; and, as soon as he could disengage himself
from, her arms, he seized his bag and hammock,
and rushed out of the house to conceal his emo
tion. When they reached the depot, they found
16 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
that the draft to which they belonged numbered
nearly two hundred men, some of whom were old
sailors, while others, like themselves, were entirely
unacquainted with the life they were about to lead.
The journey to Cairo which was then the naval
depot of the Western rivers was a long and tedi
ous one. They were treated with the greatest
kindness by the officers who accompanied them,
and at almost every station the people would flock
around the cars with baskets of provisions, which
were freely distributed.
Early on the fifth morning they reached their
destination, and were immediately marched on
board a small steamer which lay alongside of the
naval wharf-boat, and carried to the receiving-ship,
which lay anchored in the middle of the river.
LEARNING THE ROPES. 17
S they came on board the recehing-
ship they were all drawn up in a
line, the roll was called, and they
were divided off into messes. The
mess to which Frank and his cousin
belonged was called " Number Twenty-
V(X five." As they were about to be dis
missed, the officer who had called the roll said to
" You will be cook of this mess."
" Sir ? " said Archie, in surprise.
" You will be cook of this mess," repeated the
officer, in a louder tone. " But what is the matter
with you ? Are you hard of hearing ? "
" No, sir ; but I can t cook."
" Rever mind ; you can try. You may go be
18 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
The men did as they were ordered, and our
heroes seated themselves on one of the broadside
guns, and Archie said :
" I m in a nice fix, ain t I ? I do n t know any
more about cooking than a hog does about gun
"I will assist you all I can," said Frank; "but
I wonder what we shall have for dinner? I hope
it will be something good, for I m as hungry as a
At this moment the whistle of the boatswain s
mate sounded through the ship, and that person
age passed them and called out, in a low voice :
" Mess cook Number Twenty-five ! "
" He means me, do n t he ? " inquired Archie,
turning to his cousin.
" I do n t know, I m sure. Ask him."
" Mess cook Number Twenty-five," again shouted
" Here I am," said Archie.
"Well, you ought to be somewhere else," said
the mate, sharply. " Why do n t you go and draw
" I do n t know where I should go," answered
LEARNING THE ROPES. 19
u Then fly around and find out ; " and the mate
turned on his heel and walked away.
" Now, that s provoking," exclaimed Archie.
* Why could n t he tell a fellow where to go ? I 11
tell that officer that I did n t ship for a cook ; I
shipped to fight. I wish I was at home again."
But regrets were worse than useless, and Archie
began to look around to find some one who could
tell him where to go to draw his rations. At
length he met one of the men who belonged to his
mess, whose name was Simpson, who told him that
he must go to the paymaster s store-room, and
offered to show him the way; and, as he saw that
Archie was entirely unacquainted with life on
shipboard, Simpson told him to come to him when
ever he wanted any advice.
As Archie entered the store-room, the paymas
ter s steward, a boy about his own age, who was
serving out the provisions, after inquiring the
number of his mess, said :
" It s lucky that you came in just as you did, for
I have sent the master-at-arms after you. If you
do n t attend to your business better than this, I
shall have you put on the black-list for a week or
20 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Now, Archie had never been accustomed to be
ing " ordered about by any boy of his size," as he
afterward remarked, and he felt very much like
making an angry reply. But he knew it would
only get him into trouble, and, choking down his
wrath, he answered :
" If any one will tell me what my duty is, I
shall be glad to do it."
" You have n t been in the navy a great while,
have you ? " inquired the steward, with a laugh.
" No ; this is my first attempt at learning to be a
"Well, all I have got to say," continued the
steward, " is, that you will soon be sorry that you
ever made the attempt."
" I am sorry now," said Archie ; " and if I ever
get home again, you 11 never catch me in another
scrape like this. I do n t like the idea of having
everybody order me around, and talk to me as
though I was a dog."
"No reflections," said the steward sharply.
"Better keep a civil tongue in your head. But
now to business. In the first place, here are your
dishes," and he handed ArcMe a number of tin
pots and plates, a large pan, and a mess-kettle.
LEARNING THE ROPES. 21
"What shall I do with these?" asked Archie.
"Why, eat out of them, to be sure," answered
the steward ; " what else would you do with them ?
I shall hold you responsible for them," he contin
ued; "and if any of them are lost, they will be
charged to your account. Now go and put them
avay in your mess-chest, which you will find on
the berth-deck, and then come back, and I will give
you your rations."
Archie accordingly picked up his dishes, and
started he knew not whither, for he had no
idea to which part of the vessel he should go in
order to find the berth-deck. But he had often
boasted that he would have no difficulty in getting
along in the world while he had a tongue in his
head ; so he made inquiries of the first man he met,
who told him to go up to the captain, who was al
ways ready to send the executive officer to show
landlubbers over the ship. If there was any joke
in this, Archie was too angry to notice it, and he
was about to make a suitable rejoinder, when a
voice close behind him said :
" Now, shipmate, what s the use o ? being so hard
on the boy ? "
Archie turned, and found Simpson at his side.
22 FEANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"The youngster hain t been to sea as long as
you and I have," continued the latter. "If we
were ashore, he would stand a better chance of
gettin along than you nor me."
" Then, shiver his tim ers, why did n t he stay
ashore, where he belongs ? " asked the man, gruffly.
" Oh, he s got the right stuff in him, and will soon
learn the ropes," answered Simpson. " Come, now,
my little marlinspike," he continued, turning to
Archie, "follow in my wake, and I ll show you
where our mess-chist is;" and the kind-hearted
sailor led the way to the berth-deck, and showed
Archie the mess-chest, which had "No. 25" painted
on it. Archie put all his dishes into it, with the
exception of the mess-kettle and two plates, which,
according to Simpson s directions, he took back to
the store-room, to put his rations in. The steward
then gave him a large piece of salt beef, some cof
fee, sugar, butter, and sea-biscuit.
"Is this all we have to eat?" inquired Archie, as
he picked up his rations and followed Simpson back
to his mess-chest.
"All!" repeated Simpson; "yes, my hearty, and
you may thank your lucky stars that you have
got even this. You 11 have to live on worse grub
LEARNING THE ROPES. 23
nor this afore your year is out. But I see you
do n t like the berth of cook, so I 11 take it off
your hands. Give me the key of the chist."
Archie accordingly handed it over, and then
went in search of his cousin, whom he found
perched upon a coil of rope, engaged in writing a
" Well," exclaimed the latter, as Archie came up,
"how do you get along?"
" I do n t get along at all," said Archie ; " I tell
you, we ve got ourselves in a fix. What do you
suppose we are going to have for dinner ? "
" I do n t know," answered Frank.
" Well, we will have a chunk of salt beef, coffee
without any milk, butter strong enough to go alone,
and crackers so hard that you could n t break them
with an ax. I tell you, the navy is played out."
"Well, it can t be helped," said his cousin.
" We are in for it. But we 11 soon get accus
tomed to the food ; we are seeing the worst of our
"I certainly hope so," said Archie; "but I know
I can stand it if any one else can; and when I
fairly get started, I won t ask favors of any one."
Frank made no reply, but went on with his let-
24 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
ter, and Archie leaned on one of the guns and
gazed listlessly into the water. At length they
were interrupted by the boatswain s whistle, blown
three times in succession, long and loud.
"What s the matter now, I wonder," said Frank,
as the sailors commenced running about the ship
in all directions.
" I know," answered Archie, as he saw Simpson
dive into the cook s galley and reappear bearing
the mess-kettle, filled with steaming coffee, in one
hand, and a large pan, containing the salt beef, in
the other " dinner is ready."
The cousins walked aft to their mess-chest, and
found the berth-deck filled with men, who were sit
ting around the chests, brandishing their sheath-
knives over plates full of salt beef and " hard-tack."
Coming directly from home, where they had been
accustomed to luxurious living, our young sailors
thought they could not relish this hard fare ; but,
as they had eaten no breakfast, they were very
hungry, and the food tasted much better than they
When dinner was ended, Simpson began to
gather up the dishes belonging to his mess, pre
paratory to washing them. Frank and Ardue
LEARNING THE ROPES. 25
offered their assistance, and Simpson directed the
former to take the mess-kettle and go up to the
galley after some hot water. When he was re
turning, he saw a man stealing around the deck,
holding something behind him that looked very
much like a bundle of rope, and keeping a close
watch on every one he met. Frank did not know
what to make of this, and stepping up to the boat
swain s mate, he inquired :
"What is that man doing with that bundle of
rope behind him?"
" That ain t a bundle of rope, you landlubber,"
replied the mate ; " that s a swab."
"Well, what is he doing with it?"
" The best way for you to learn would be for
you to spill some of that water you have got in
your kettle on the deck."
Frank, without stopping to think, tipped up his
kettle, and turned out some of the water ; and the
man, who had been watching his every movement,
sprang toward him and threw down the swab, ex
" I ve caught you, my hearty ; now you may log
this bit of rope for awhile."
"What do you mean?" inquired Frank, amid a
26 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
roar of laughter from every sailor who had wit
nessed the performance.
"What does he mean?" repeated the mate;
" why, he means that you have got to wipe up that
water you have spilt on deck, and carry that swab
until you can catch some one else doing the same
For the benefit of the uninitiated, we will make
an explanation. It often happens on shipboard,
especially receiving-ships, that the men become
very careless ; and in carrying water, paint, or
grease about the ship, frequently spill some of it
on deck. While this state of things continues, it
is impossible to keep a ship clean, and, in order to
break up this habit, the culprits are obliged to wipe
up whatever they have spilled, and then carry a
swab about the deck until they can detect some one
else equally unfortunate. This is not a pleasant
task ; for, as soon as this rule is put in force, the
men become very careful, and the luckless offender
is sometimes obliged to walk the decks the entire
day before he can detect any one in the act of vio
Frank, of course, did not understand this, and the
mate had got him into the scrape for the purpose
LEARNING THE ROPES. 27
of getting the man who first had the swab, who was
a particular friend of his, out of his unpleasant
" Come, youngster, drop that mess-kettle and
pick up that swab," commanded the mate.
Frank knew he had no alternative ; so he set
his mess-kettle on deck out of the way, and picking
up the swab, walked aft to the place where he had
"Hullo, there," exclaimed the latter, as Frank
approached, "what s the matter with you?"
Frank related the whole circumstance, and Simp
son could scarcely restrain his indignation.
" That bo son s mate ought to be mast-headed
for a whole week," he exclaimed. " But I 11
square yards with him some day. I m sorry
you have got into this scrape, but it can t be
helped. I ve seen many a good fellow, in my
time, in the same fix. Now you must walk around
the ship, and if you see any one spill the least drop
of water, or any thing else, on deck, rush up and
give him the swab. There are a good many land
lubbers on board, who don t know the rules, and
you won t have any trouble in catching them. Al-
28 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
ways be careful to keep the swab behind you, out
Frank was a good deal mortified at being the
victim of this novel mode of punishment; but he
consoled himself with the thought that he would
soon learn his duty, and be enabled to avoid all
such scrapes. He walked about the vessel for an
hour, trailing the swab along the deck behind him ;
but it seemed as though every one was particularly
Meanwhile Archie, who had learned the par
ticulars of the case from Simpson, was acting as a
sort of scout, hoping to be of some assistance to
his cousin. But he looked and waited in vain for
some one to violate the rule, and finally he resolved
to make use of a little strategy in releasing
Discovering a man coming out of the galley with
a pail of water, Archie walked rapidly down the
deck, and jostled him w T ith sufficient force to empty
half the contents of his pail on the deck. Archie
did not, of course, stop to apologize, but hurried
on, and before the man could look up to see who
had caused the mischief, he had disappeared.
Frank, who had been watching his cousin s mo
LEARNING THE ROPES. 29
tions, immediately stepped up and dropped the
swab before the man, and walked away, laughing
in his sleeve, when he thought how cleverly his
release had been accomplished.
When the hour of bedtime arrived, the boys
were instructed how to get into their hammocks,
and laughed at for tumbling out on the opposite
side. But, after a few attempts, they succeeded in
gaining the center of their suspended beds, and
were soon in a sound sleep.
30 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Y degrees the boys became accus
tomed to their new situation, and
began to feel much more contented.
The only thing that troubled them was
the food they received. It consisted,
for the most part, of salt pork and beef,
and hard crackers, with now and then a little
flour and dried apples. Simpson, who had been
in the navy nearly all his life, and had become
well acquainted with its rules and regulations,
asserted that they did not receive half their al-
lowance^jind promised that, if he could detect
the paymaster s steward in the act of cheating
them, he would pay him back in his own coin.
Now Blinks, for that was the steward s name, was
a notorious cheat; he never gave the men their
full rations. On the contrary, he often boasted
SQUARING THE YARDS. 31
that he cleared not less than a hundred pounds
of provisions every day. He was the caterer of
the steerage mess, and many a pound of flour and
apples, which should have been given to the men,
found its way to his table, in the shape of pies and
puddings. Blinks always rose early, and as soon
as he was dressed, the steerage steward, every
morning, brought to his room a lunch, consisting
of coffee and apple-pie. He was very fond of
pies, and had several made every day. Every
time the men passed the galley, they saw long
rows of them set out to cool. Many a midnight
plundering expedition had been planned against
the galley, but without success. The door and
windows were securely fastened at sundown, and
all attempts to effect an entrance were unavailing.
It was also useless to attempt to bribe the cook,
for Blinks, who was a strict accountant, always
knew how many pies were made every day, .and if
any of them were missing, the cook was sure to
suffer. One evening, while Frank and oimpson
were engaged in washing up the supper-dishes, the
latter inquired :
" Would you like one of those pies we saw in
the galley to-day ? "
32 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" Yes," answered Frank ; " they looked very
" Well," said Simpson, lowering his voice to a
whisper, " we 11 have some of them to-night."
"How will we get them?" inquired Frank.
"Why, we 11 steal them. We can t beg or buy
them. Besides, the stuff they are made of right
fully belongs to us. I do n t care a snap for the
pies, but I do n t want to see that rascally steward
growing fat off our grub."
" I m in for it," answered Frank, who had long
wanted an opportunity to revenge himself on
"Will that cousin of yours lend us a hand?"
"Yes, without any coaxing. He does not like
the steward any better than I do. But I d like
to know how we are going to work to get at the
pies? The doors and windows are all fastened."
" We will pry up the galley, so that one of us
can crawl under it. I ve put a handspike where I
can find it in a moment. -We shall have no trouble
As soon as the dishes were washed and stowed
away in the mess-chest, Frank went to find hip
SQUARING THE YARDS, 33
cousin, who was always ready for any mischief of
that kind, and readily agreed to the proposal.
When bedtime came, the three slung their ham
mocks together, and, to all appearances, were soon
fast asleep. At nine o clock the ship s corporal
put out all the berth-deck lights, Avhich left the
place shrouded in darkness. As soon as he had
gone forward again, Simpson raised himself on his
elbow, and whispered :
" Turn out, lads. Now s our time."
The boys crept noiselessly out of their ham
mocks, and followed the sailor, who led the way
directly to the galley, which was, in fact, a small
house, about ten feet square, built on the deck, to
which it was insecurely fastened. Simpson found
his handspike without any difficulty, and placing
one end of it under the galley, easily raised it from
the deck, while Archie threw himself on his hands
and knees, and crawled in under it. It was as dark
as pitch inside the galley, but he knew exactly
where the pies were kept, and had no difficulty in
finding them. He handed three of them to his
cousin, and then crawled out again, and the galley
was lowered to its place. After stowing the pies
safely away in their mess-chest, they again sought
34 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
their hammocks. The next morning, when the
steward entered the galley to prepare the usual
lunch for Blinks, he was surprised, and a good deal
terrified, to find that some of the pies were missing.
He immediately went on deck, and reported it to
Blinks, who furiously asked :
"Where have they gone to, you rascal?"
" I do n t know, sir, I m sure," answered the
steward, while visions of double-irons danced be
fore his eyes. u There were eight pies in the gal
ley when I locked it up last night."
" I do n t believe it, you scoundrel. You sold
the pies, and think that, by telling me they are
missing, you can make me believe that they were
" I have never done any thing of the kind since
I have been your steward, Mr. Blinks," said the
man, with some spirit. " I have always been as
careful of your interests as I would be of my own.
Did you ever detect me in a mean or a dishonest
" No ; but I have often caught the cook stealing
things. I 11 report you to the executive ofiicer,
and have you punished. Go below."
The man sullenly withdrew, and Blinks hurried
SQUARING THE YARDS. 35
to the executive officer s room and reported the
"Are you sure the steward stole the pies, Mr.
Blinks?" inquired the officer; " perhaps some one
broke into the galley. It would be well for you
to go down and see, before punishing the steward."
Blinks hurried below, and commenced a thorough
examination of the locks and window-fastenings,
but all to no purpose; and he was still more sur
prised when the steward affirmed that he had
found all the doors and windows closed, just as he
had left them. This was also reported to the ex
ecutive officer, who advised Blinks to say nothing
about the affair, but to set a watch over the galley,
and, if possible, discover the offender.
Blinks resolved to act upon this suggestion ;
and, the following evening, he posted a sentry over
the galley, with instructions to arrest any one who
might be discovered prowling around. After fast
ening the doors and windows himself, he put the
keys in his pocket and walked away.
At half-past nine o clock our young sailors and
Simpson were again on hand. After a careful re-
.connoissance, the sentry was discovered fast asleep
at his post. They immediately set to work as be-
36 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
fore the galley was raised up, and three more pies
secured. It was all done in a moment, and the
sentinel was not awakened ; and as they retreated
to their hammocks, they could scarcely refrain
from laughing outright, when they thought how
nicely the trick was performed.
The next morning Blinks opened the galley at
an early hour, and was surprised and enraged to
find that some of his pies were again missing.
He carefully examined every nook and corner of
the galley, but failed to discover a place where any
one could effect an entrance.
For four nights more, in succession, Frank and
his accomplices visited the galley, each time taking
pies enough to last them a whole day; and Blinks,
in the mean time, was making unavailing efforts
to discover the offenders. On the fifth night,
Archie, who was the one that always went into the
galley, was much longer than usual in finding the
pies. At length he whispered,
"I say, Simpson!"
"Ay, ay, my hearty; what is it?"
" I can t find but one pie."
"You can t, hey?" said Simpson; "I smell a
rat. Bring the pie out here."
SQUARING THE YARDS. 37
Archie accordingly handed it out, saying, as he
" I m hungry as blazes ; I believe I 11, eat a
piece of that pie to-night."
"Not in a hurry," said Simpson, as they began
to crawl back toward their hammocks; "not in a
hurry; I ve been in such scrapes as this before,
and can t be fooled easy."
"What do you mean?" inquired Frank.
" Why, I mean that this pie was made on pur
pose for us," said Simpson ; " it has got some
kind of medicine in it that will make a fellow sick.
If we should eat it, they would not be long in find
ing out who stole the pies."
" I 11 tell you what to do with it," said Frank,
suddenly ; " let s give it to Jenkins, the boat
swain s mate ; he s a mean fellow, and I should n t
be sorry to see him sick.
"That s just what I was going to do with it,"
said Simpson. "Now, you go back to your ham
mocks, and I ll carry him the pie."
"As Simpson had taken particular notice of the
place where Jenkins was in the habit of slinging
his hammock, he had no difficulty whatever in find
38 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"I say, shipmate," he whispered, shaking the
mate by the shoulder.
"What do you want?" he growled.
" Wake up," said Simpson ; " I ve got a nice pie
for you; do you want it?"
"Of course I do," answered the mate, taking it
from Simpson s hand. " But who are you ? " he
inquired, for it was so dark that he could not
have recognized the features of his most intimate
"I m Jack Smith," answered Simpson; "but I
can t stop to talk with you, for some one may dis
cover me;" and before Jenkins could detain him,
he had slipped off quietly in the darkness.
It was as Simpson had said the pie had been
made "on purpose for them." When Blinks saw
that it was impossible to discover the guilty party,
he ordered his steward to make a nice, large pie,
into which he put two doses of jalap. It was his
intention to make the offender sick; and he told
the doctor what he had done, and requested him to
keep an eye on all who came to him for medicine
The next morning Jenkins was not heard blow
ing his whistle, but was seen moving slowly about
the ship, with a pale, woe-begone countenance ;
SQUARING THE YARDS. 39
and as soon as the doctor appeared, he made ap
plication to go on the "sick-list."
"What s the matter with you?" inquired the
Jenkins then explained how he had been sud
denly taken very ill during the night, and was
afraid he was going to die. The doctor, who knew
in a moment that it was the effect of the medicine
contained in the pie, exclaimed :
" Why, you "re just the man Mr. Blinks has been
wanting to see for the last week. Orderly, ask
Mr. Blinks if he will have the kindness to come
here a moment."
The orderly disappeared, and Jenkins stood,
looking the very picture of despair, too sick to
know or care what was going on.
" Mr. Blinks, I ve found your man," said the
doctor, when the paymaster s steward made his
" Well, my fine fellow," said Blinks, turning to
the mate, and smiling grimly, "how do you feel by
this time? Very pleasant morning, isn t it? I
knew I d catch you, you scoundrel," he exclaimed,
suddenly changing his tune ; " 1 7 11 teach you to
steal my pies ! "
40 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" I I do n t know what you mean, sir ! " said
the mate, in surprise.
" Do n t talk to me, you villain," said Blinks,
savagely; "didn t you eat a pie last night?"
"Yes, sir," answered Jenkins, hesitatingly,
"I knew you did, you rascal."
"But the pie was given to me, sir," said the
" Oh, that story won t do at all. I 11 fix you.
In a short time the mate, who was so weak that
he was- scarcely able to stand alone, was sum
moned before the captain, who gave him a severe
reprimand, and disrated him. He came down on
deck, looking very forlorn indeed ; and as he
passed by Simpson, who, with Frank and Archie,
was standing in the starboard gangway, the former
"That s what I call squaring the yards; I m
even with him now."
As soon as Jenkins had recovered from the ef
fects of the physic, he began to make efforts to
find Jack Smith. One day he approached Simp
son, who was seated on a coil of rope, spinning
SQUARING THE YARDS. 41
one of his forecastle yarns to Frank and Archie,
and said :
"Shipmate, do you know any one aboard here
named Jack Smith?"
"No," answered Simpson, with the utmost grav
ity, "I don t know any one who goes by that
"Well, there is a chap here by that name," said
Jenkins, "and I wish I could find him. He got
me into a bad scrape."
But, it is needless to say, he never found Jack
FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the afternoon of the following day,
as Frank and his cousin were walk
ing up and down the deck, talking over
old times, Simpson hurriedly approached
"Boys, do you want to leave this
"Yes," answered Frank; "we re tired of stay
"Well, it s all right, then. I volunteered to go,
and I had both your names put down. The ex
ecutive officer says if you want to go, just get your
donnage and go for ard."
"Where are we to go?" inquired Archie.
"On board of the Illinois," answered Simpson.
" She is a magazine-ship, and is lying half-way
A MIDNiUlIT ALARM. 43
between here and Mound City. No work at all
to do. I m going.
"Then we ll go, of course," said Frank; "for
we do n t want to lose you."
They immediately got down their hammocks
and bags, and went forward, where they found the
executive officer standing on the forecastle, wait
ing for them.
" Well, lads, do you volunteer to go on the Illi
nois?" he asked.
"Jump down into that dingy, then," said the
officer, pointing to a small boat that lay along
The boys did as they were ordered, and just
as they had finished storing away their bags and
hammocks under the thwarts, a man dressed in the
uniform of a sailor sprang down into the boat,
"Man your oars, lads, and shove off you ve
a long pull before you."
Archie took one of the oars, Frank the other;
Simpson stowed himself away in the bow of the
boat, and the sailor took his seat at the helm.
The cousins were both good oarsmen, and they
44 FRANK ON A ^UN-BOAT.
made the little boat dance over the water like a
duck. It was full five miles to the place where
the Illinois lay, and they soon found that it was
indeed "a long, hard pull." The current was
very strong, and it reminded the boys of many a
tough struggle they had had around the head of
Strawberry Island, in the Kennebec River.
In about two hours they i cached the Illinois,
and, as they sprang on board, their baggage was
seized by willing hands, and carried to the cabin,
which had been stripped of nearly all its furniture,
and presented, altogether, a desolate appearance.
After a few moments conversation with one of
their new messmates, they learned that there were
only fifteen men on board the vessel, including one
sergeant and two corporals. These were the only
officers; and they were, in fact, no officers at all,
for they were all rated, on the books of the receiv
ing-ship, as "landsmen."
They soon discovered that there was no disci
pline among the crew there could not be, under
the circumstances. Each stood a two-hour watch,
at night, and assisted in pumping out the ship,
morning and evening. With the exception of these
duties, there was no work to be done on board the
A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 45
vessel. The remainder of the day was spent as
suited them best. Some passed the time in hunt
ing and fishing, some in reading, and some lounged
about the decks, from morning until night.
Frank and Archie were very much pleased with
their new situation. There was no boatswain s
mate to trouble them, and they were in no danger
of rendering themselves liable to punishment for
some unintentional offense.
After stowing away their bags and hammocks,
they amused themselves in strolling about the boat,
until a neat-looking little sailor stepped up, and
informed them that supper was ready. They fol
lowed him into the cabin, and took their seats at
the table, with the rest, and one of the sailors, who
went by the name of Woods, exclaimed :
" Now, boys, pitch in, help yourselves, for if you
do n t, you won t be helped at all. Every one that
comes here has to learn to take care of himself."
"You will not find us at all bashful," answered
Frank, and he began helping himself most boun
tifully to every thing on the table.
It did not take them long to become acquainted,
and thel}oys found that their new shipmates were
much better educated than the majority of the
46 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
sailors they had met. They were a good-natured,
jovial set of fellows, and the meal-hour passed
away quickly and pleasantly.
Immediately after supper the corporal ordered
all hands below to pump out the ship. In a quar
ter of an hour this was accomplished, and as they
were ascending to the boiler-deck, Woods re
" I wish I was back in Wisconsin again for a
"Are you tired of the navy? " inquired Frank.
" Oh, no ! " answered Woods ; " but I should like
to see my friends again, and try my hand at quail-
"Are you fond of hunting? "
" Yes, indeed ; I spend all my spare time in the
woods, when I am at home."
This was the very man, of all others, that Frank
would have chosen for a companion, and he in
formed Woods that he also was very fond of rural
sports. They seated themselves on the boiler
deck railing, and each related some of his hunting
and fishing adventures, and, finally, Woods pro
posed that they should go over the river into Ken
tucky, on the following morning, on a squirrel-
A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 47
hunt. Frank, of course, readily agreed to this.
He immediately started in search of his cousin and
Simpson, and informed them of the proposed excur
sion. When he returned to the place where he had
left Woods, he found him Avith a musket on his
shoulder, and a cartridge-box buckled about his
waist, pacing up and down the deck.
" I m on watch, you see," he said, as Frank
came up. " You will go on at midnight ; so you
had better go and turn in. If we go hunting to
morrow, we must start by four o clock at least, for
we have a good way to walk before we reach the
hunting-ground. Good night." And Woods, set
tling his musket more firmly on his shoulder, con
tinued his beat, while Frank sought his hammock.
About midnight he was awakened by a hand laid
on his shoulder, when, starting up, he found one
of the corporals standing beside his hammock,
holding a lantern in his hand.
" Is your name Nelson ? " he inquired.
Frank answered in the affirmative, and the cor
poral continued :
" Roll out, then, for it is time for you to go on
watch. But be careful when you come out, or
you 11 be shot."
48 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" Shot ! " exclaimed Frank. " Who 11 shoot
me? Are there any rebels around here? "
" Yes, plenty of them. There are some out on
the bank now. I was walking with Woods, when I
happened to look up, and saw two men, with their
muskets pointed straight at us ; but we got out of
the way before they had time to shoot. Hurry up,
now, but do n t expose yourself," and the corporal
hurried aft, hiding his lantern under his coat as he
What Frank s feelings were, we will not attempt
to say. He was not a coward, for we once saw
him alone in the forest, standing face to face
with a wounded wild-cat, with no weapon in his
hands but an ax ; but fighting a wild-cat and a rebel
sharp-shooter were two widely different things. He
had never heard the whistle of a hostile bullet, nor
had he ever seen a rebel ; and it is not to be won
dered at, if his feelings were not of the most envi
able nature. But he was not one to shrink from
his duty because it was dangerous ; and he drew on
his clothes as quickly as possible, and seizing a
musket and cartridge-box that stood in a rack close
by the cabin door, he hurried aft, where he found
VYoods concealed behind the port wheel-house, and
A MIDNIGHT ALAKM. 49
fche corporal behind a chicken-coop. They both
held their guns in readiness, and were peering into
the woods, as if trying to pierce the thick darkness
that enshrouded them. The Illinois was tied up
close to the bank, which, as the water in the river
was low, was about thirty feet in hight ; and as the
moon was shining very brightly, a person hidden
in the bushes could distinctly see every thing on
" Keep close there," said Woods, as Frank came
up. " The corporal says he saw some guerrillas
on the bank."
Frank accordingly concealed himself behind a
stanchion, and his hand trembled considerably as
he cocked his musket and brought it to his shoul
der. They remained in this position for nearly a
quarter of an hour, when, suddenly, something
stirred in the bushes.
" There they are," whispered the corporal, draw
ing himself entirely out of sight, behind the
chicken-coop. " Look out, they 11 shoot in a
Frank kept a close watch on the bushes, and
presently discovered a white object moving about
50 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" I see something, boys," he said ; " but it do n t
look to me like a man."
"Yes, it is a man," exclaimed the corporal,
excitedly. " Shoot him."
In obedience to the order, Frank raised his gun
to his shoulder, and an ounce ball and a couple of
buckshot went crashing through the bushes. The
commotion increased for a moment, and then
ceased, and something that sounded very much
like a groan issued from the woods.
" By gracious, you hit one of them," exclaimed
the corporal. " That was a good shot. We 11
teach these rebs that it is n t healthy to go prowl
ing about here at night."
Frank hastily reloaded his musket, and they
waited, impatiently, for nearly an hour, for the
other guerrilla to show himself, but the woods
remained as silent as death.
" I guess that shot finished them," said the cor
poral ; " so I will go and turn in. Keep a good
look-out," he added, turning to Frank, " and do n t
expose yourself too much."
Woods and the corporal then went into the
cabin, and Frank was left to himself. A feeling
of loneliness he had never before experienced came
A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 51
over him. At first he determined to go and call
his cousin to come and stand watch with him, so
that he would have some one to talk with ; but, on
second thought, he remembered that Archie was
to come on watch at two o clock, and probably
would not like to be disturbed. Besides, if he
called him, it would look as though he was a cow
ard, and afraid to stand his watch alone ; so he
gave up the idea, and remained in his place of
concealment. Once he thought he discovered the
sheen of a musket among the bushes ; but it was
only his imagination, and after waiting half an
hour without hearing any thing suspicious, he shoul
dered his gun, and commenced pacing the deck,
in full view of the woods. But he was not mo
lested, and when two o clock came he saw a figure
steal cautiously out of the cabin, and creep along
toward him, under cover of the wheel-house. As
he approached nearer, Frank recognized his cousin.
" Where are the rebs ? " inquired the latter.
" The corporal said he saw two of them out
there in the woods," answered Frank, pointing to
a thick clump of bushes that stood on the edge of
the bank ; " and there was something out there,
and I shot at it. But I ve been on deck here,
52 FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
in plain sight, for the last hour, and haven t seen
" I hope there are no rebs in there," said
Archie ; " but I 11 keep dark for awhile. I shipped
to fight, but I do n t like the idea of having a fel
low send a bullet into me when I can t see him,"
and he began to settle himself into a comfortable
position behind the chicken-coop.
" I do n t think there is any danger," said
Frank; "but perhaps it is well to be careful at
first. Be sure and call us when you come off
watch," and he shouldered his rifle and walked
leisurely into the cabin.
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 53
RCHIE stood his watch without see
ing or hearing any thing of the reb
els, and when he was relieved, at four
o clock, he aroused Simpson, Woods,
and his cousin, and after they had tied
up their hammocks, and stowed them
away in the nettings, Woods went to
the sergeant s room to obtain his consent to their
proposed excursion. This was easily accomplished,
and while they were filling their pockets with
musket-cartridges, Frank proposed that they should
go out and see what it was that had occasioned the
alarm during the night ; so they leaned their mus
kets up in one corner of the cabin, and ran out
on the bank, and there, weltering in his blood, lay,
not a rebel, but a white mule. He it was that,
while feeding about in the woods, had occasioned
54 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the disturbance in the bushes, and Frank s shot
had done its work. The two men with muskets
had existence only in the corporal s imagination,
Simpson burst into a loud laugh.
"A nice set of fellows you are," he exclaimed
" I should n t want you stationed at my gun in
"Why not?" inquired Frank.
"Why, because you can t tell the difference
between a mule and a secesh."
Frank made no reply to this, for, although he-
was very much relieved to find that it was a mule ;
and not a man, that he had killed, he was a good
deal mortified at first, for he expected to be made
the laughing-stock of his companions. But he
consoled himself with the thought that he was not
to blame. The corporal had said that he had seem
guerrillas in the woods, and he had, as in dutj
bound, done his best to drive then? away ; besides
he would not have fired his gun }>ad he not beei
ordered to do so.
"It s no matter," said Simpson 4 who noticed
that Frank looked a little crest-fallen ; " It wa&
the corporal s fault."
"I know it," said Frank. "But that\ pjo:
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 55
consolation. I killed the mule, and shall probably
be laughed at for it."
" What s the odds ? " asked Simpson. " I ve
seen many a better man than you laughed at. But
let us be going, for we have a long way to walk."
They accordingly retraced their steps to the
vessel, and Woods awoke one of the corporals, who
had volunteered to row them over into Kentucky.
The dingy, which was kept fastened to the stern of
the Illinois, was hauled alongside, and, in a few
moments, they reached the opposite shore. Our
four hunters sprang out, and, bidding the corporal
good-by, shouldered their muskets, and disap
peared in the forest. Woods, who was well ac
quainted with the " lay of the land," led the way.
Just at sunrise they reached a ridge covered with
hickory and pecan-trees.
- Here we are," he exclaimed, as he leaned on
his gun, and wiped his forehead with his coat-
sleeve. " There are plenty of squirrels around
here. But I m hungry ; we have plenty of time
to eat some breakfast before we begin."
They seated themselves under the branches of
some small hickories, and Simpson produced from
a basket some salt pork, hard crackers, and a
56 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
bottle of cold coffee. Their long walk had given
them good appetites, and the meal, homely as it
was, was eaten with a relish. After they had
rested a few moments, they started off in different
directions, to commence the hunt. As Frank
walked slowly along, with his gun on his shoulder,
he could not help thinking of the many times he
had been on such excursions about his native vil
lage. What a change a year had made! The
"Boys of Lawrence" were no longer amateur
sportsmen. They were scattered all over the
v country, engaged in the work of sustaining the
integrity of the best government on earth. / Would
they ever all meet again? It was not at all likely.
Perhaps some had already been offered up on the
altar of their country ; and if he should ever live to
return home, there would be some familiar faces
missing. In short, Frank was homesick. Finding
himself once more in his favorite element had made
him think of old times. He wandered slowly
along, recalling many a fishing frolic and boat-race
he had engaged in, until a loud chatter above his
head roused him from his reverie. He looked up
just in time to see a large squirrel striving to hide
himself among the leaves on a tree that stood close
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 57
by. Frank s gun was at his shoulder in a moment,
and taking a quick aim at the squirrel, he pulled
the trigger. But the old Springfield musket was
not intended for fine shooting ; for, though the
shot cut the leaves all around, the squirrel escaped
unhurt, and, running up to the topmost branch,
again concealed himself. While Frank was reload
ing, Archie came up, and stood leaning on his gun,
with rather a dejected air.
"What s the matter with you?" inquired Frank.
"I wish I was down to the river," answered
"What would you do there? go fishing?"
" No, but I d sink this musket so deep that no
one would ever find it again. It do n t shoot
worth a row of pins. If I was standing twenty
feet from the side of a barn, I could n t hit it. I
wish I had my shot-gun here."
"So do I," answered Frank; "I wcmld very
soon bring down that squirrel. I m going to try
him again;" and going around to the side of the
tree where the squirrel had taken refuge, he fired
again, but with no better success. The squirrel,
not in the least injured, appeared amid a shower
of leaves, and speedily found a new hiding-place.
68 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"It s no use, I tell you," said Archie; "you
can t hit any thing with that musket."
"It does look a little that way. But I must
have that squirrel, if I have to shoot all day.
Haven t you got a load in your gun?"
"Yes; but I might as well have none. I can
kill as many squirrels by throwing the musket at
them, as I can by shooting at them."
" Never mind, fire away the ammunition does n t
cost us any thing."
"I know it; but another thing, this musket kicks
like blazes. I had as soon stand before it, as be
hind it. But I 11 try him ; " and Archie raised
his gun and blazed away. This time there was no
mistake ; the squirrel was torn almost to pieces by
the ball ; and when the smoke cleared away, Frank
saw his cousin sitting on the ground, holding both
hands to his nose, which was bleeding profusely.
" You ve killed the squirrel," he said.
"Yes," answered Archie; "but I hurt myself
as much as I did him."
Frank was a good deal amused, and could scarcely
refrain from laughing at his cousin s misfortune.
He tried to keep on a sober face, but the corners
of his mouth would draw themselves out into a
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 59
smile, in spite of himself. Archie noticed this,
" Oh, it s a good joke, no doubt."
"If you would hold your gun firmly against your
shoulder," said Frank, "it wouldn t hurt half so
bad. But hadn t we better go on?"
Archie raised himself slowly from the ground,
and they moved off through the woods. The
squirrels were very plenty ; but it required two or
three, and, sometimes, as many as half a dozen
shots, to bring one down.
At length, after securing four squirrels, their
shoulders became so lame that they could scarcely
raise their guns; so they concluded to give up
shooting, and start in search of Woods and Simp
son, who had gone off together. About noon they
found them, sitting on the fence that ran between
the woods and a road. Simpson had three squir
rels in his hand.
"We are waiting for you," he said, as Frank
and Archie came up ; " it s about time to start for
"I m hungry," said Frank; "why can t we go
down to that house and hire some one to cook our
squirrels for us?"
60 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" That s a good idea/ said Woods; "come
along ; " and he sprang off the fence, and led the
way toward the house spoken of by Frank, which
stood about a quarter of a mile down the road,
toward the river.
As they opened the gate that led into the yard,
they noticed that a man, who sat on the porch in
front of the house, regarded them with a savage
scowl on his face.
"How cross that man looks!" said Archie, who,
with his cousin, was a little in advance of the others ;
"maybe he s a reb."
"How do you do, sir?" inquired Frank, as he
approached the place where the man was sitting.
"What do yees want here?" he growled, in
" We came here to see if we could n t hire some
one to cook a good dinner for us," answered Frank.
"No, ye can t," answered the man, gruffly; "get
out o here. I never did nothin for a Yank, an
I never will. I d like to see yer all drove from
the country. Get out o here, I tell yer," he
shouted, seeing that the sailors did not move, u or
I 11 let my dogs loose on yer ! "
" Why, I really believe he is a reb," said Archie ;
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 61
"he s the first one I ever saw. He looks just
like any body else, do n t he, boys ? "
" If yees do n t travel mighty sudden, I 11 make
a scatterin among yer," said the man, between his
clenched teeth ; "I 11 be dog-gone if I do n t shoot
some o yer;" and he reached for a long double-
barrel shot-gun that stood behind his chair.
"Avast, there, you old landlubber," exclaimed
Simpson; "just drop that shootin iron, will you.
We re four to your one, and you do n t suppose
that we are going to stand still and be shot down,
like turkeys on Thanksgivin morning, do you?
No, sir, that would be like the handle of a jug, all
on one side. Shootin is a game two can play at,
you know. Come, put that we pon down;" and
Simpson held his musket in the hollow of his arm,
and handled the lock in a very significant manner.
The man saw that the sailors were not to be in
timidated, and not liking the way Simpson eyed
him, he leaned his gun up in the corner again, and
muttered something about Yankee mudsills and
"Just clap a stopper on that jaw of yours, will
you," said Simpson ; " or, shiver my timbers, if
we do n t try man-o -war punishment on you. Now,
62 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Frank," he continued, "you just jump up there,
and shoot off the old rascal s gun; and then keep
an eye on him, and do n t let him get out of his
chair ; and the rest of us will look around and see
what we can find in the way of grub."
Frank sprang up the steps that led on to the
porch, and fired both barrels of the gun into the air,
and then, drawing a chair to the other end of the
porch, coolly seated himself, and deposited his feet
on the railing ; while the others went into the house,
where they secured a pail of fresh milk and a loaf
of bread. From the house they went into the
wood-shed, where they found a quantity of sweet
potatoes. They then returned to the place where
they had left Frank.
"Come on, now," said Woods; "we ll have a
tip-top dinner, in spite of the old secesh."
" Hold on," said Frank; " where are you going?
I move we cook and eat our dinner here. There s
a stove in the house, and every thing handy."
The man was accordingly invited into his own
house by the boys, and requested to take a seat,
and make himself perfectly at home, but to be
careful and not go out of doors. They deposited
their muskets in one corner of the room ; and while
A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 63
Archie started a fire in the stove, Frank dressed
the squirrels, and washed some of the sweet pota
toes, and placed them in the oven to bake. Woods
drew the table out into the middle of the room ;
and Simpson, after a diligent search, found the cup
board, and commenced bringing out the dishes.
Frank superintended the cooking; and, in half an
hour, a s plendid dinner was smoking on the table.
When the meal was finished, they shouldered their
muskets, and Simpson said to the man :
" Now, sir, we re very much obliged to you for
your kindness ; but, before we go, we want to give
you a bit of advice. If you ever see any more
Yankee sailors out this way, do n t try to bully them
by talking treason to them. If you do, just as
likely as not you 11 get hold of some who won t
treat you as well as we have. They might go to
work and clean out your shanty. Good day, sir ; "
and Simpson led the w T ay toward the boat.
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
9 e$>* .
CURING the three months following
that Frank and Archie were at
tached to the Illinois, they met
with no adventure worthy of notice.
They passed nearly every day in the
w r oods, and, after considerable practice,
had become splendid shots with their
muskets ; and as game was abundant, their table
was kept well supplied.
At length, the new magazine-boat, which had for
some time been building at Cairo, was towed along
side the Illinois, and a detachment of men from the
receiving-ship were set to work to transfer the am
munition. The crew of the Illinois were not at all
pleased with this, for they knew that the easy life
they had been leading was soon to be brought to
When the ammunition had all been removed into
the new boat, the steamer Champion came along
side, and the Illinois was towed down to Columbus,
where she was to undergo repairs, and her crew was
transferred to the receiving-ship again.
The day after they arrived on board, while Frank
and his cousin were seated on a coil of rope, as
usual, talking over old times, and wondering how
George and Harry Butler liked the army, and why
they had not written, the boatswain s mate came
along, and called out, in a loud voice :
" Here I am," said Archie.
" Well, go up on deck," said the mate ; " the
captain wants to see you."
" The captain wants to see me ! " repeated Archie,
" Yes ; and you had better bear a hand, too, for
the captain is n t the man to wait long when he
sends after any one."
Archie accordingly went on deck, trying all the
while to think what he had done that was wrong,
and expecting a good blowing up for some unin
tentional offense. Perhaps the captain had by
some means learned who it was that had made the
66 FRANK ON A GUN BOAT.
descent on the cook s galley, and had called him up
for the purpose of punishing him.
Finding the captain on deck, talking with the
executive officer, he very politely remained out of
hearing, holding his hat in his hand, and waited
for a chance to speak to him. At length the cap
tain inquired :
" Has n t Winters come up yet ? "
" Yes, sir," answered Archie, stepping up with
his best salute.
"Is this your writing?" inquired the captain,
holding out to Archie a letter addressed, in a
splendid business hand, to James Winters, Esq.,
" Yes, sir," answered Archie ; " that s a letter
I wrote to my father."
"Well," continued the captain, "I have got a
splendid position for you, as second clerk in the
fleet paymaster s office. Would you like to take it ? "
"Yes, sir," answered Archie; "but but"
" But what ? " inquired the captain.
" I do n t like to be separated from my cousin.
We shipped together, and I should like to remain
with him as long as possible."
"Oh, as to that," said the captain, "you can t
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 67
expect to be together long ; there is no certainty
that you will be ordered to the same ship. You
might as well separate one time as another. I
think you had better accept this position."
" I should like to speak with my cousin before
I decide, sir."
"Very well; look alive, and don t keep me
Archie touched his hat, and hurried below.
" What did he want with you ? " inquired Frank,
who was sitting with Simpson on their mess-chest.
Archie told his story, and ended by saying :
" I do n t believe I 11 take it ; for I do n t want
to leave you."
" You re foolish," said Simpson ; " for, as the
captain said, you can t expect to remain together
a great while. To-morrow one of you may be
ordered to a vessel in the Cumberland River, and
the other to the lower fleet. Better take it; Frank
can take care of himself."
"Yes," said Frank, "I should certainly take it,
if I were in your place. You 11 be an officer then,
"Yes, I shall be an officer," said Archie, con
temptuously; "and if I meet one of you any-
68 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
where, I mustn t associate with you at all. No,
sir ; I 11 go and tell the captain I can t take it."
"But, hold on a minute," said Frank, as his
cousin was about to move away ; " perhaps you
may find that there is another good place, and
then you can recommend me."
" That s so," said Archie ; " I did not think of
that ; I believe I 11 take it ; " and he hurried on
" Well, what conclusion have you come to ? "
inquired the captain. "Will you take it?"
" Yes, sir, with many thanks for your kindness.
"What is your cousin s name?"
Archie told him, and the captain continued :
" I 11 keep an eye open for him. I do n t for
get that I was young once myself; and I know
that a sailor s life is rather tough for one who is
not accustomed to it ; and when I find a deserving
young man, I like to help him along. Mr. Tyler,"
he continued, turning to the officer of the deck,
"please send this young man over to the fleet pay
master s office in the first boat that leaves the ship.
You need not take your donnagc," he said, turn
ing to Archie again ; " if you suit the paymaster,
you can come over for it at any time."
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 69
" Very good, sir," answered Archie ; and he
went below again.
When the ten o clock boat was called away,
Archie, in obedience to the captain s order, was
sent over to the paymaster s office; and Frank was
left alone. He watched the boat until it reached
the landing, and he saw his cousin spring out. He
then walked aft, and seated himself on the mess-
chest, and commenced writing a letter to his mother.
While he was thus engaged, he heard the order
passed, in a loud voice: "All you men that be
longed to the Illinois, muster on the forecastle with
your bags and hammocks."
As Frank hastened to obey the order, he met
Simpson, who exclaimed:
" We ? re off again, my hearty ; and I m glad of
it. I do n t like to lay around here."
"Where are we going?" inquired Frank.
" I do n t know for certain; but I suspect we are
to be the crew of the store-ship Milwaukee, now
lying alongside the wharf-boat."
Simpson s surmise proved to be correct. The
entire crew of the Illinois, with the exception of
Archie, was mustered around the capstan ; and after
answering to their names, they were crowded into
70 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
a cutter that lay alongside, and, in a few moments,
were landed on board the Milwaukee.
She had steam up ; her stores were on board,
and she was all ready to sail ; and the crew had
scarcely time to stow away their bags and ham
mocks, when the order was passed: "All hands
stand by to get ship under way."
The gang-planks were quickly hauled in; the
line with which she was made fast to the wharf-
boat was cast off, and the Milwaukee was soon
steaming down the river, and Cairo was rapidly
receding from view.
The Milwaukee, which was now dignified by the
name of " store-ship," was an old river packet.
She was loaded with clothing, provisions, and small
stores, with which she was to supply the fleet. It
was not, of course, intended that she should go
into action ; but, in order that she might be able to
defend herself against the guerrillas, which infested
the river between Cairo and Helena, she mounted
a twelve-pound howitzer on her boiler-deck, and
was well supplied with muskets. Her destination
They reached that place without any adventure,
and, after supplying the fleet with stores, started
to return to Cairo. One pleasant afternoon, as
they were passing through Cypress Bend, the offi
cer of the deck discovered a man standing on the
bank, waving a flag of truce. A bale of cotton
lay near him; and the man, as soon as he found
that he had attracted their attention, pointed to the
cotton, and signified, by signs, that he wished it car
ried up the river.
The Milwaukee was immediately turned toward
the shore, and as soon as they arrived within
speaking distance, the captain called out :
"What do you want?"
" I would like to have you take this cotton to
Cairo for me," answered the man.
" Are you a loyal citizen ? " asked the captain.
" Yes, sir ; and here is a permit from Admiral
Porter to ship my cotton;" and, as the man spoke,
he held up a letter to the view of the captain.
" Bring her into the bank, Mr. Smith," said
the captain, addressing the pilot ; " and, Mr.
O Brien," he continued, in a lower tone, turning to
an officer who stood near, " go down and stand by
that howitzer. Perhaps there is no treachery in
tended, but it is well to be on the safe side."
As soon as the Milwaukee touched the bank,
72 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Frank and Simpson v with two others, sprang ashore
with a line, and, after making it fast to a tree,
returned on board, and commenced pushing out a
plank, so that the cotton could be easily rolled on,
when, suddenly, several men rose from behind the
levee, and the quick discharge of their rifles sent
the bullets around those standing on the fore
castle, like hailstones ; and Simpson, who was
standing directly in front of Frank, uttered a sharp
cry of pain, and sank heavily to the deck. The
next moment the guerrillas, with loud yells, sprang
down the bank in a body, intending to board the
boat and capture her. But they had not taken
her so much by surprise as they had imagined, for
a shell from the howitzer exploded in their very
midst, and one of the rebels was killed, and three
disabled. The others turned and hastily retreated
behind the levee. Frank took advantage of this,
and lifting the insensible form of his friend, re
treated under cover, and laid him on a mattress
behind a pile of coal, where he would be safe
from the bullets of the guerrillas, which now be
gan to come through the sides of the boat in
This was the first time Frank had ever been
under fire, and he was thoroughly frightened ; but
he knew that it was his duty to resist the rebels,
and to do themjis much damage as possible ; so,
instead of looking round for a safe place to hide^
his first impulse was to run up on deck after a
jun,. This he knew was a dangerous undertaking,
for the vessel lay close to the bank, the top of
which was on a level with the boiler-deck ; and
behind the levee, scarcely half a dozen rods dis
tant, were the guerrillas, who were ready to shoot
the first man that appeared. Nevertheless, Frank
resolved to make the attempt, for he wanted
to take revenge on them for shooting Simp
son. But, just as he was about to start out, he
heard the captain shout down through the trum
pet which ran from the pilot-house to the engine-
" Back her, strong ! We must get away from
the bank, or they will pick us all off."
In obedience to the order, the engineers let on
the steam, and a heavy puffing told Frank that
the powerful engines were doing their utmost to
break the line which held them to the bank.
Here was another thing that Frank knew he ought
to do ; he knew that he ought to cut that line, for
74 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
it would be an impossibility to break it. There
was an ax handy, and a sudden rush and a couple
of lusty strokes would put the vessel out of dan
ger. But, at short intervals, he heard the bullets
crashing through the side of the boat, and he
knew that the guerrillas were on the watch. If
he made the attempt he could scarcely hope to
come back alive ; and he thought of his mother
and Julia, how badly they would feel when they
heard of his death. But even where he stood he
was in danger of being struck by the bullets that
were every moment coming through the vessel;
and would not his mother much rather hear that
he fell while performing his duty 3 than that he was
shot while standing idly by, taking no part in the
fight? He did not wait to take a second thought,
but seized the ax, and, with one bound, reached the
gangway that led out on to the forecastle. Here
he hesitated again, but it was only for a moment.
Clutching his ax with a firmer hold, and gathering
all his strength for the trial, he sprang forward,
and a few rapid steps brought him to the capstan,
to which the line was made fast. He raised his
ax, and one swift blow severed the line, and the
Milwaukee swung rapidly out from the bank
FRANK SAVING THE BOAT
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 75
Without waiting an instant, Frank turned and
retreated ; but, instead of going back to the place
where he had left Simpson, he bounded up the
steps that led to the boiler-deck, and the next
moment was safe behind a pile of baled clothing.
His sudden appearance had taken the rebels com
pletely by surprise, and before they could recover
themselves, the line had been cut, and the young
hero was safe. But they had seen where he had
taken refuge, and, with loud yells of disappoint
ment and rage, sent their bullets about his
hiding-place in a perfect shower. Frank, how
ever, knowing that he was safe, was not in the
least alarmed. Waiting until the fire slackened a
little, he sprang up, and, snatching a musket and
cartridge-box from the rack which stood close by
the door of the cabin, was back to his hiding-
place in a moment.
" Now," he soliloquized, " we are on more
equal terms. Better keep close, or I 11 drop
some of you. 7
In his cool, sober moments, Frank would have
shuddered at the thought of taking the life of a
fellow-being ; but he had seen Simpson shot down
76 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
before his eyes perhaps killed; and is it to be
wondered that he wished to avenge his fall?
It was some time before Frank could get an
opportunity to use his musket; for if he exposed
the smallest portion of his body, it was the signal
for his watchful enemies, who sent the bullets
about him in unpleasant proximity. In spite of
his dangerous situation, he could not help think
ing that the rebels were very proficient in " In
dian fighting," for, with all his watchfulness, he
could not get an opportunity to put in a shot. All
he could see of his enemies would be, first, a rifle
thrust carefully over the levee, then a very small
portion of a head would appear, and the bullet
would come straight to the mark.
In the mean time the Milwaukee was working
her way out into the stream, and the rebels, finding
that their fire was not returned, grew bolder by
degrees, and became less careful to conceal them
selves. This was what Frank wanted; but he
reserved his fire until a tall rebel rose to his full
hight from behind the levee, fired his gun, and
stood watching the effect of the shot. Frank s
musket was at his shoulder in an instant, his finger
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 77
pressed the trigger, and the rebel staggered for a
moment, and disappeared behind the levee.
"There," said Frank to himself, "that s what
Simpson would call squaring the yards. I m
even with the rascals now."
The rebels answered the shot with loud yells,
and their bullets fell thicker than ever; but the
Milwaukee was almost out of range, and, in a few
moments, the firing ceased altogether.
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the Milwaukee was fairly out
of range of the bullets of the guer
rillas, Frank put his gun back in the
rack, and started in search of the
doctor s steward. He ran into the
cabin without ceremony, and was
about to enter the steward s room,
when he discovered a pair of patent-leather boots,
which he thought he recognized, sticking out from
under a mattress which lay on the cabin floor; and,
upon examination, he found that it concealed the
steward, who was as pale as a sheet, and shaking
as though he had been seized with the ague.
" What do you want here ? " he asked, in a trem
bling voice, as Frank raised the mattress.
u Simpson is shot," answered Frank, " and J
w.ould like to have you come down and see him."
ON A GUN-BOAT. 79
" Do you suppose I am fool enough to go out on
deck, and run the risk of being shot? No, sir; I 11
stay here, where I am safe ; " and the steward made
an effort to draw his head under the mattress again.
"There s no danger now," said Frank; "the
rebels have stopped firing. Besides, we are out
"Go away, and let me alone," whined the stew
ard. " I am not going to expose myself."
" You re a coward," exclaimed Frank, now fairly
aroused. " But I guess the captain can "
" Oh, do n t," entreated the steward ; " I have n t
been here a minute. I started to get a gun, to pay
the rebels back in their own coin ; but the bullets
came through the. cabin so thick that I thought it
best to retreat to a safe place;" and the steward
threw off the mattress, and arose, tremblingly, to
"You went after a gun, did you?" inquired
Frank, in a tone of voice which showed that he did
not believe the steward s story.
" Yes ; and I would have given them fits, for I
am a dead shot."
" Where did you put your gun when you found
that you had to retreat?"
80 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
- " I put it back in the rack again/
This was a likely story; for a person as badly
frightened as was the steward would not have
stopped to put the gun back in its place ; and, in
his heart, Frank despised the man w r ho could be
guilty of such a falsehood.
As they were about to go out on deck, the steward
drew back, exclaiming :
" I do n t hardly believe it is safe to go out there
just yet. Let us wait a few moments."
" I shan t wait an instant," said Frank. " Simp
son has been neglected too long already. You can
come down and attend to him, or not, just as you
please." So saying, he opened the cabin door,
and walking rapidly out, descended the stairs that
led to the main deck.
The steward dreaded to follow; but he knew
that, if he did not attend the wounded sailor, he
would be reported to the captain, who, although a
kind-hearted man, was a strict disciplinarian, and
one who always took particular pains to see that
his crew was well provided for. He dared not
hesitate long; so, drawing in a long breath, he
ran swiftly out on deck, and disappeared down the
stairs like a shot.
ON A GUN-BOAT. 81
Frank found Simpson sitting upon the mattress
where he had been lain, with his elbows on his
knees, and his head supported by his hands. As
Frank came up, he said, in a weak voice :
" I came very near losing the number of my
mess, did n t I ? The rascals shot pretty close to
me ; " and he showed Frank an ugly-looking wound
in the back of his head, from which the blood was
By this time the steward arrived. After exam
ining the wound, he pronounced it very severe,
and one that would require constant attention.
Simpson was speedily conveyed to the sick bay,
and every thing possible done to make him com
fortable. Although the Milwaukee was completely
riddled by the bullets of the guerrillas, he was the
only one hurt. Frank was excused from all duty,
that he might act as Simpson s nurse; and he
scarcely left him for a moment during the two
weeks of fever and delirium that followed. By the
time they reached Cairo, however, he was pro
nounced out of danger.
Frank wanted very much to see his cousin ; but
the Milwaukee was anchored out in the river, and
no one was allowed to go ashore. One afternoon,
82 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
as he sat by his friend s hammock, reading aloud a
letter from Harry Butler, in which he gave a vivid
description of a late battle in which his regiment
had participated, the orderly entered and informed
him that the captain wished to see him. He fol
lowed the orderly, and, as he entered the cabin, the
captain said :
" Please help yourself to a chair, Mr. Nelson ;
I shall be at liberty in a moment. I should like to
finish this letter before the mail-steamer sails. You
will excuse me, will you not?"
" Certainly, sir," answered Frank ; and he seated
himself, lost in wonder.
The captain had addressed him as Mr. Nelson,
while heretofore he had always been called, by the
officers, Nelson, or Frank. What could it mean*
The captain had always treated him with the great
est kindness ; but, since the engagement with the
guerrillas, all the officers had shown him more con
sideration than ever. He had noticed the change,
and wondered at it.
At length the captain, after hastily directing the
letter he had written, and giving it in charge of the
orderly, took an official document from his desk,
Baying, as he did so :
ON A GUN-BOAT. 83
" I am greatly pleased, Mr. Nelson, to be able
to give you this, for you deserve it;" and after
unfolding the letter, he gave it to Frank, who read
as follows :
NAVY DEPARTMENT, >
WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 18, 18G2. j
SIR: For your gallantry in the late action at Cypress
Bend, on the Ist-inst, you are hereby appointed an Acting
Master s Mate in the Navy of the United States, on tempo
rary service. Eeport, without delay, to Acting Rear-Ad
miral David D. Porter, for such duty as he may assign you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of the Navy.
Acting Master s Mate FRANK NELSON,
8. S. Milwaukee, Mississippi Squadron.
"Well," said the captain, after Frank had read
the letter over three times, to make sure that he
was not dreaming, and that he was really an officer,
" what do you think of it ? "
" I hardly know what to think, sir," answered
Frank. " It is an honor I did not expect."
" Very likely," said the captain, with a laugh ;
" but you deserve it. If it had n t been for you,
we should all have been captured. I saw the
whole of the transaction from the pilot-house."
"It was my duty to do it, sir."
84 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" It was a brave act, call it what else you will
Now go and give this to the paymaster," contin
ued the captain, handing Frank an order for the
settlement of his accounts, "and then go imme
diately and report to the Admiral."
Frank left the captain, a good deal elated at his
success; and when he approached Simpson, the
"What is it, my hearty? Your promotion?"
"Yes," answered Frank; "read that;" and he
handed his appointment to his friend, who said :
" I knew you would get it. The captain is n t
the man to let such a thing as you did at Cypress
Bend pass unnoticed. Give us your nipper, my
boy ; I m glad to see you an officer." And the
brave fellow actually shed tears, as he shook
Frank s hand. "Now, when you are ordered to
your ship," he continued, "I wish you would speak
a word for me. I am very well contented here,
but I had much rather sail with you."
Frank promised to do his best, and, after put
ting on his " shore togs," as Simpson called them,
and giving the captain s order to the paymaster, he
started off to report to the Admiral.
When he arrived on board the flag-ship, he was
ON A GUN-BOAT. 85
met by the officer of the deck, who inquired his
"I wish to see the Admiral, sir," answered
Frank ; " I am ordered to report to him."
The officer immediately led the way aft, and
showed Frank a marine standing at the door of
the cabin, who took his name and disappeared. In
a moment he returned, and informed Frank that the
Admiral was waiting to see him.
He entered the cabin, and handed his appoint
ment to the Admiral, who, after reading it, said :
" So, you are the young man that saved the Mil
waukee, are you ? Take a chair, sir."
In a few moments his orders to report, without
delay, on board the Ticonderoga, were ready ; and
as the Admiral handed them to him, he said :
" Now, young man, you will be on a ship where
you will have a chance to distinguish yourself. I
shall expect to hear a good account of you."
" I shall always endeavor to do my duty, sir,"
answered Frank ; and he made his best bow and
When he returned to the Milwaukee, his accounts
had all been made out. After the paymaster
had paid him up in full, Frank started for the
86 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
nearest clothing-store, and when he came out, he
was changed into a fine-looking officer.
He immediately directed his steps toward the
naval wharf-boat, where he found a lively little
fellow, who seemed full of business, superintending
the loading of a vessel with provisions. It was
Archie Winters ; but it was plain that he did not
recognize his cousin in his new uniform, for Frank
stood close behind him, several moments, and
Archie even brushed against him, as he passed.
" Can you tell me, sir, where I can find Mr
Winters?" inquired Frank, at length.
" Yes, sir," answered Archie, promptly, looking
his cousin full in the face ; " I m the why, Frank,
how are you?" and he seized his cousin s hand,
and shook it heartily. " I J ve been on board the
Milwaukee twice this morning, but you were oif
somewhere. I heard you had a fight down the
river, with the rebels. But what are you doing?
What boat are you ordered to?"
"I am not doing any thing at present," an
swered Frank; "but I am ordered to report on
board the Ticonderoga."
" There she is," said Archie, pointing to a long,
low, black vessel that lay alongside of the wharf-
ON A GUN-BOAT. 87
boat. " I am just putting provisions on board of
her. I 11 come and see you as soon as I get my
Frank went on board his vessel, where he was
received by the officer of the deck, who showed him
the way into the cabin. After the captain had in
dorsed his orders, he strolled leisurely about the
ship, examining into every thing, for as yet he
knew nothing of gun-boat life.
The Ticonderoga was a queer-looking craft.
She was not exactly a Monitor; but she had a tur
ret forward, and mounted two eleven-inch guns
and four twelve-pounder howitzers. She had a
heavy iron ram on her bow, and the turret was
protected by three inches of iron, and the deck
with two inches. It did not seem possible that a
cannon-ball could make any impression on her
The officers quarters were all below decks ; and,
although it was then the middle of winter, Frank
found it rather uncomfortable in his bunk.
During the two weeks that elapsed before the
ship was ready to sail, the time was employed in
getting every thing in order in drilling at the
great guns, and with muskets and broad-swords.
88 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Most of the crew were old seamen, who under
stood their duty; and by the time their sailing
orders came, every thing moved like clock-work.
In the mean time Frank had been assigned his
station, which being the youngest officer on board
the ship was to command the magazine. He
learned very rapidly, and, as he was always atten
tive to his duties, he grew in favor with both officers
At length, one afternoon, the anchor was weighed,
and the Ticonderoga steamed down the river. Her
orders were to report to the Admiral, who had
sailed from Cairo about a week previous. They
found him at Arkansas Post, where they arrived
too late to take part in the fight. In a few days
a station was assigned to her in the Mississippi
River; and the Ticonderoga immediately se> sail,
in obedience to orders.
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN TIIE LINEB. 89
NE day, about two weeks after they
came out of Arkansas River, the Ti-
conderoga stopped at Smith s Landing
to take on wood, as her supply of coal
had run short. The vessel was made
fast to the bank, and, while the seamen
were bringing in the wood, the paymas
ter s steward called Frank s attention to some cat
tle which were feeding on the bank, and remarked :
" I wish we could go out and shoot one of them."
" So do I," said Frank ; " I ve eaten salt pork
until I am tired of it. Let s go and ask the cap
" I m agreed," said the steward.
The captain was walking on deck at the time,
and his permission was readily obtained, for he
himself had grown tired of ship s pork; Frank,
90 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
accompanied by the steward, and a seaman whc
was an expert butcher, started out. They were
armed with muskets, and, as they were all good
shots, and did not wish to kill more than enough
to feed the ship s company once, they took with
them no ammunition besides what was in the guns.
At the place where the Ticonderoga was lying, the
levee an embankment about six feet high, built to
prevent the water from overflowing ran back into
the woods about half a mile, then, making a bend
like a horse-shoe, came back to the river again,
inclosing perhaps a dozen acres of low, swampy
land ; and it was in this swamp that the cattle
were. They proved to be very wild ; but, after a
considerable run, Frank succeeded in bringing
down one, and the steward and seaman finally
killed another. The question now was, how to get
the meat on board the vessel. While they were
debating on the matter, they were startled by the
clatter of horses hoofs on the levee ; and, instead
of drawing back into the bushes, out of sight,
they very imprudently waited to see who the
horsemen were. Presently, a party of guerrillas,
to their utter amazement for they had not dreamed
that the rebels were so near them galloped up.
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 91
Tlie rebels discovered them at the same moment,
and one of them exclaimed
" I 11 be dog-gone if thar ain t a Yank ; " and,
not knowing how many there might be of the
"Yanks," they very prudently drew up their
horses. One of them, however, who appeared to
be the leader of the band, comprehended their sit
uation at a glance, and exclaimed :
" Throw down your arms, and you shall be
treated like men!"
This brought them to their senses, and they
turned and ran for their lives. They had scarcely
made a dozen steps before the bullets and buck
shot began to rattle about their ears; but the
trees and bushes were so thick that they escaped
unhurt. Frank reached the vessel far in advance
of the others ; as he came over the side, panting
and excited, the captain, who was still on deck,
"What s the matter, Mr. Nelson?"
"We ran foul of some guerrillas out there in
the woods, sir," replied Frank.
"How many of them did you see?"
" They did n t give us much of a chance to
judge of their numbers, sir; but I should say
92 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
that there were at least a dozen of them, and they
were coming this way. I should n t wonder if they
intended to pick off some of the men who are car
rying in wood."
" Mr. Hurd," said the captain, turning to the
executive officer, " take thirty men, who are good
shots, and go out there and keep those fellows off.
Mr. Nelson will go with you."
Frank accordingly ran below, and armed himself
with a revolver and musket, and buckled on a
cartridge-box. When the men were ready, he led
the way, along the levee, so that, if the guer
rillas were advancing, they would be certain to
meet them. But they saw no signs of them until
they came within sight of a barn which stood in
the woods, about a mile from the river. The rebels
were gathered before it, as if in consultation, and
greeted the approach of the sailors with a scatter
ing volley of musketry, which whistled harmlessly
over their heads, or plowed up the ground before
" Give em a shot, boys," said the executive
officer, " and then scatter, and let each man take
to a tree and fight Indian fashion."
The sailors wheeled into line with all the prompt-
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 93
ness and regularity of veteran troops; and before
the smoke of their muskets cleared away, they had
disappeared, like a flock of young partridges. The
rebels had also treed, and the skirmish was con
tinued for half an hour, without any damage being
done to either party.
This style of fighting did not suit Frank, and he
began to urge the executive officer to advance, and
drive them from their position. But the officer did
not think it safe to attempt it ; for, although he had
seen but a small number of the rebels, he did not
know how many there might be hidden away in the
"Well, then," said Frank, after thinking a mo
ment, " I have another proposition to make. If
you will give me ten men, and engage the rebels
warmly in front, I 11 go and get that fresh beef."
" Where did you leave it ? " inquired the officer.
" In the woods, about three hundred yards to the
left of where the rebels now are."
" Very well ; pick out your men, and go ahead."
Frank accordingly selected the boatswain s mate,
an old, gray -headed man, who had been in the navy
from boyhood, as his first lieutenant, and ordered
him to call for volunteers.
94 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
If there is any thing a sailor admires, it is
bravery in an officer. Every one on board the Ti-
conderoga, from the captain down, was acquainted
with Frank s gallant behavior at Cypress Bend,
although he himself had never said a word about
jjij and this, together with his uniform kindness
toward the men under his command, and the re
spect he always showed his brother officers, had
made him very popular with the ship s company ;
and when the mate who was never better pleased
than when he could do Frank a service passed
the word along the line that Mr. Nelson had called
for volunteers, the men flocked around him in all
directions. The mate quickly selected the required
number, and Frank led them toward the place
where they had left the beef.
The woods were very thick, and, of course, the
rebels, who were hidden in the bushes, on the other
side of the levee, knew nothing of what was going
on. Frank sent two of his men to the levee, to
watch the motions of the rebels, with orders not to
fire unless they attempted to advance; and then
pulled off his coat, and set to work, with the others,
cutting up the beef. This was soon accomplished ;
and, after getting it all ready to carry to the vessel,
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 95
Frank, after consulting with the mate, concluded
that the rebels ought to be punished for what they
had done, and lit determined to try the effect of a
cross-fire upon them.
lie cautiously advanced his men to the levee,
when he found that the rebels had been growing
bolder ; and one of them, who was mounted on a
powerful iron-gray horse, would frequently ride out
from his concealment, and advance toward the
place where the men under the executive officer
were stationed, coolly deliver his fire, and then
retreat out of range of their guns, to reload.
" Now, boys/ said Frank, " if that fellow tries
that again, I 11 put a stopper on his shooting for
The rebel, who, of course, was entirely ignorant
of the proximity of Frank s party, soon reappeared,
and rode rapidly down the levee, until he came
directly opposite the place where Frank and his
men were concealed, and then drew up his horse,
and settled himself in his saddle, for a good shot.
But at that instant the report of Frank s musket
echoed through the woods, and the horse on which
the rebel was mounted fell to the ground, with a
bullet in his brain. Before the astonished guer
96 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
rilla could extricate himself from the saddle, Frank,
with more recklessness than prudence, had bounded
out of his concealment, and seized him by the collar
with one hand, at the same time attempting to
draw his revolver with the other.
" You re my prisoner ! " he exclaimed.
But the rebel had no sooner regained his feet,
than he seized Frank around the body, and, lifting
him from his feet, threw him heavily to the ground.
Frank s revolver had become entangled in his belt
in such a manner that he could not draw it, and
he now saw how foolhardy he had been, for his
antagonist was a man of almost twice his size, and
possessed of enormous strength. But Frank still
retained his presence of mind, and, in falling, he
managed to catch the rebel by the hair, and pulled
him to the ground with him. He clung to him with
a death-grip, and the guerrilla, after trying in vain
to break his hold, attempted to draw a knife from
his belt. Frank seized it at the same moment, when
each used all his skill and strength to obtain pos
session of it.
Both parties gazed in utter amazement, as this
singular struggle went on, and neither dared to
fire a shot, for fear of hitting their own man. At
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 97
length the mate, who, with his men, had watched
the progress of the conflict, with their feelings
worked up to the highest pitch of excitement, dis
covered that the rebel, by his superior strength,
was gaining the advantage ; and he knew that the
only way to save his officer was to drive the rebels
from their position.
" Steady there, lads ! " he exclaimed; " fix bayo
The order was promptly obeyed.
u Ready, now ! Aim ! Fire ! Charge bayonets !
Forward, double-quick ! "
The sailors broke from their concealment with
a loud yell, and rushed toward the rebel line.
They were soon overtaken by the men under com
mand of the executive officer, who, not wishing to
be outdone by their comrades, had come to their
The rebels were taken completely by surprise,
and, after delivering a straggling fire, rapidly re
The charge made by the sailors infused new
courage into Frank, who increased his exertions,
and struggled furiously for the possession of the
98 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"Hold on," exclaimed the rebel; "I ll sur
render, if you will promise me kind treatment."
" I guess you ll surrender any way," said Frank ;
" and you may be sure that you will be well treated."
" Let go my hair, then," said the rebel ; " and
let me get up."
Frank accordingly released his hold, and the
rebel rose to his feet, and was immediately seized
by the mate, who, with his men, was just returning
from the pursuit of the rebels.
After the prisoner had delivered up his weapons,
they marched back to the place where they had
left the beef, and then started for the vessel.
Every one was soon made acquainted with the
particulars of the fight, and Frank was again the
hero of the mess-room.
A UNION FAMILY. 99
.FTER two days sail, the Ticondc-
roga arrived at Phillips s Landing,
where she had been ordered to take
her station ; for the Admiral had re
ceived information that the rebel Gen
eral Marmaduke was preparing to
cross the river, with his forces, at
They came to anchor in front of a large planta
tion, owned by the man after whom the place was
named. In a short time, a boat, rowed by tw)
stout negroes, and which contained two ladies and
a gentleman, came alongside.
The captain received them, as they came upon
the quarter-deck, and the gentleman, after intro
ducing himself as Mr. Phillips, and apologizing for
the liberty they had taken in coming on board,
100 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
asked if the captain could furnish them with some
Northern papers. They lived in an out-of-the-way
place, he said, where boats seldom landed, for fear
of the guerrillas, and they were entirely ignorant
of what was going on.
The captain seemed much pleased with his vis
itors. After complying with their request, he
conducted them down into the cabin, where they
passed an hour in conversation. When they were
about to take their departure, they invited the cap
tain and his officers to call on them, and assured
them that there were no rebels in the vicinity.
The captain was an old sailor, and had been in
the service so long that he was inclined to be sus
picious of any thing that looked like friendship on
the part of a person living in an enemy s country.
But, after calling on Mr. Phillips s family a few
times, without discovering any thing to confirm his
suspicions, he allowed both officers and men to go
ashore at all times ; and soon quite an intimacy
sprung up between them and the people of the
plantation, and dinner parties and horseback rides,
were the order of the day.
Frank had been elected caterer of his mess, and
as he was obliged to furnish provisions, he had a
A UNION FAMILY. 101
good excuse for being ashore most of his time.
He became a regular visitor at the plantation, and
was soon well acquainted with each member of the
family. They all professed to be unconditional
Union people, with the exception of the youngest
daughter, who boldly stated that her sympathies
were, and always had -been, with the South ; and
she and Frank had many a long argument about
Things went on thus for a considerable time,
when, early one morning, as Frank was on his way
to the plantation, to buy his marketing, a negro
met him, as he was ascending the hill that led to
the quarters, and said :
" I d like to speak just one word with you,
"Well, what is it, uncle?" said Frank; "talk
" Let us move out this way first, for I do n t
want them to see us from the house."
Frank followed the negro behind one of the
cabins, and the latter continued:
" 1 7 m afraid you and all the officers on your
boat will be captured one of these days."
" What do you mean ? " inquired Frank, in sur-
102 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
prise, half inclined to think that the negro was
" I suppose you do n t know that my master and
mistress, and all the white folks on the plantation,
are rebels, do you ? "
" No ; and I do n t believe they are."
" Yes, they are. My master is a Major in the
rebel army ; and that Miss Annie you come to see
every day has got a sweetheart in the army, and
she tells him every thing you say. Besides, they
send a mail across the river, here, twice every
month. I took one across myself, night before
" I believe you re lying to me, you old rascal,"
" No, young master," answered the negro ;
"every word I have told you is gospel truth.
You see, my daughter waits on Miss Annie, and
I find out every thing."
" You say Miss Phillips has a sweetheart in the
army ? "
" Yes ; and he was here to see her not long ago.
He is a lieutenant, and has gone up to Conway s
Point, with two cannons, to fire into steamers.
His name is Miller ; and you would know him from
A UNION FAMILY.
a long scar on his left cheek. Was n t Miss An
nie on board your boat two days ago?"
" Yes, I believe so."
" Well, she stole a book.
"A book!" repeated Frank. "What kind of
" I do n t know the name of it. It was a small
book, and had lead fastened to the covers."
~" By gracious ! " exclaimed Frank, " that was the
captain s signal-book."
" Yes ; she told my daughter that she took it out
of the captain s room."
Frank did not stop to buy any marketing, but
hastily catching up his basket, he hurried back to
" Orderly," he exclaimed, as he approached the
marine who always stood at the cabin door, "ask
the captain if I may see him."
" He has n t got up yet, sir."
" That makes no difference. Tell him t-hat I
have something particular to say to him."
The orderly went into the cabin, and, in a few
moments, returned, and said :
" The captain says walk in, sir."
" Captain," said Frank, after he had closed the
104 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
door carefully behind him, " have you lost your
"No, I guess not;" answered the captain, in a
tone of surprise. "What makes you ask?"
" I heard, a few moments ago, that it had been
stolen from you."
"I have not had occasion to use it for two or
three weeks," answered the captain, getting out of
bed; "but I know exactly where I put it;" and
he opened a drawer in the sideboard, and com
menced to overhaul the contents.
" Set me down for a landlubber," he exclaimed,
at length, " if it has n t been stolen. It is n t here,
at any rate."
Frank then related the conversation which had
taken place between himself and the negro, and
the captain continued:
" Well, I always thought those folks had some
object in view, or they would not have been so
friendly. I can t reproach myself for neglecting
my duty, for I watched them pretty closely."
" I wonder how that girl knew that the signal-
book was in that drawer," said Frank.
" I suppose she must have seen me put it in
there," said the captain. "Now, the question is.
A UNION FAMILY. 105
how to go to work to recover it. It will do no
good to search the house."
" If you will leave the matter in my hands, sir/
said Frank, " I will agree to recover the signal-
book, and capture that mail-feag which they intend
to send across the river in a few days."
" "Well," said the captain, " it was you who first
knew that the signal-book was gone, and I believe
you ought to have the honor of sifting the matter
to the bottom. Find out all you can, and call on
me for any assistance you may need."
Frank immediately returned to the plantation,
and started toward the quarters, in quest of the
negro who had given him the information, whom
he found chopping wood in front of one of the
" See here, uncle," he exclaimed, " I want you
to keep me posted on all that goes on here on the
plantation ; and tell your daughter to find out when
that rebel lieutenant is coming here again, and
when they intend to send that mail across the
"I will do my best, young master, 7 answered
the negro. "But you won t tell any one what I
have said to you ? I shall be killed, sure, if you do."
106 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" No, uncle, I shan t betray you ; so do n t be
afraid," said Frank; and, after purchasing some
articles which they needed in the mess, he returned
on board the boat.
A week passed on, but nothing further was de
veloped. The officers of the vessel still continued
to visit the plantation, and Mr. Phillips and his
family always seemed glad to see them, and evi
dently did all in their power to make their visits
As soon as Frank had time to think the matter
over, he wondered why he had not known that
something suspicious was going on. He remem
bered now that Mr. Phillips had often questioned
him closely concerning the manner in which the
gun-boats were stationed along the river, and the
distance they were apart. And he thought of
other questions which had been asked him by the
family, which, although they did not seem strange
at the time, now seemed suspicious. At first he
had been inclined to doubt the negro s story; but
his doubts were soon removed by the appearance
of a transport, which was completely riddled with
shot ; and her captain reported that they had been
fired into by a battery of two guns, at Conway s
A UNION FAMILY. 107
Point. Frank knew that it was the work of the
rebel lieutenant, and he hoped that it would soon
be his fortune to meet him face to face.
One evening, just after supper, the negro ap
peared on the bank, with some chickens in his hand,
which was a signal to Frank that he had something
to communicate. He immediately set off alone, in
a skiff. When he reached the shore, the negro in
formed him that the rebel lieutenant was expected
at the plantation that evening, and that he would
bring with him the mail, which was to be carried
across the river at midnight.
After paying the negro for his chickens, in order
to deceive any one who might be watching them,
Frank returned to the vessel, and informed the
captain that, if he would give him twenty men, he
would fulfill his promise. He did not acquaint him
with what he had learned, however, for fear that
the captain would send an officer with him, and
thus rob him of the laurels now almost within his
As soon as it was dark, Frank picked out the
men he wished to accompany him, and started off.
His first care was to quietly surround the house.
After he had placed his men to his satisfaction, he
108 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
removed his sword, thrust a brace of revolvers
into his pocket, and walked up and knocked at
the door. It was opened by the youngest of the
girls, who started back and turned pale when she
saw the young officer ; but instantly recovering her
presence of mind, she exclaimed:
"Good evening, Mr. Nelson; walk in. Allow
me to introduce to you my cousin, Mr. Williams,"
she continued, as they entered the parlor.
As she spoke, a tall, handsome young man rose
from his seat, and made a low bow. It was none
other than Lieutenant Miller; for there was the
scar on his cheek, which had been described to him
by the negro.
After returning the rebel s salutation, Frank
seated himself on the sofa, and said:
" I shall trouble you only a moment. I merely
came here on a little matter of business. I under
stand that there is a rebel mail to be carried across
the river, from this house, to-night."
The suddenness with which this announcement
was made was astounding. Mrs. Phillips appeared
ready to faint ; Annie turned very pale ; and the
lieutenant raised his hand to his breast, as if about
to draw a weapon.
A UNION FAMILY. 109
"What do you mean, sir?" inquired Mr. Phil
lips, with well-feigned surprise.
"I mean," answered Frank, "that, since we an
chored opposite this house, we have been associa
ting with the worst kind of rebels. Put down your
hand, Lieutenant Miller ! If I see you make that
move again, I shall be obliged to shoot you. You
have professed to be Union people," continued
Frank, settling himself back in his seat, and coolly
crossing his legs, "and have been treated as such;
you have, however, attempted to betray us, by com
municating such of our plans and movements as you
could learn to the rebels. But you have been
discovered at last. You, gentlemen, will please
consider yourselves my prisoners. Miss Phillips,
have the kindness to produce that mail-bag, and
the signal-book you took from the captain. If you
refuse, I shall be obliged to take you on board the
ship, as a prisoner."
The girl saw that there was no alternative, and
she pulled from under the sofa, where Frank sat,
the mail-bag, which appeared to be well filled with
letters, and dispatched a servant to her room after
the signal-book, which was to have been sent across
he river with the mail.
110 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
After Frank had relieved the lieutenant of his
weapons, he called two of his men into the house,
and, after delivering the prisoners into their charge,
returned to the vessel.
That evening the captain examined the mail, and
found several letters which showed, beyond a doubt,
that their prisoners were connected with the rebel
army; and they were, accordingly, sent to the
Admiral, on the first steamer that went up the
About two weeks afterward, the captain of the
Ticonderoga received orders to proceed with his
vessel to Helena, and take command of an expedi
tion which was preparing to start down the Yazoo
Pass. They found the fleet, consisting of the Man
hattan, six "tin-clads," and several transports,
loaded with troops, assembled in Moon Lake, which
was about six miles from the Mississippi River;
and, on the 23d day of February, they entered the
pass, the Ticonderoga leading the way.
The west shore of Moon Lake was bounded by
a swamp, through which ran the pass, which was
just wide enough to admit one good-sized vessel.
It was filled with trees, which stood so close to
gether that it seemed impossible to work a passage
A UNION FAMILY. Ill
through them; and the men on deck were con
stantly in danger of being killed by falling limbs.
They advanced slowly, sometimes making not
more than four miles in a day ; and it was almost
two weeks before they reached Coldwater River.
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the afternoon of the day of their
arrival, the Ticonderoga tied up in
front of a large plantation-house. As
soon as the vessel was made fast to the
bank, the captain turned to the execu
tive officer, and exclaimed:
"Mr. Smith, please call away one
company of small-armed men. Mr. Nelson," he
continued, turning to Frank, " I wish you to take
command of the company, and go ashore and
search that house for fire-arms, and bring on
board all you find."
"Very good, sir," answered Frank; and he
hurried down to his room to buckle on his sword
In a few minutes the company was formed on
deck, and Frank marched them out on the bank
A SPUNKY REBEL. 113
arid then up to the house. His first care was to
surround the building, so that, in case there were
any men in it, their escape would be entirely cut
off. He then, in company with the boatswain s
mate and two men, walked up and knocked at the
door. After some delay, the summons was an
swered by a negro woman, who scowled upon
him, and waited for him to make known his wants.
" Is your master or mistress in ? " inquired
"Yes, missus is h ar," answered the woman,
"Well, I should like to see her."
"Den you stay h ar, an I ll ax her if she
wants to see you."
" No, aunty, that won t do. I must see her,
whether she wants to see me or not;" and Frank
unceremoniously entered the house, followed by
"Now, where is your mistress, aunty?" he in
" She s up stairs," answered the woman.
"Well, then," said Frank, turning to the boat
swain s mate, "you come with me, and let the
others remain here until we return."
114 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Frank then ascended the stairs, arid very easily
found his way to the room where the lady was ;
and, as he entered, he politely removed his
"Well, sir," said the lady, in no very pleasant
tone, "what do you wish?"
"I have been ordered to come here and search
your house for fire-arms," replied Frank.
" I suppose I shall be obliged to submit to it,
for I have not the power to prevent you ; if I had,
I should certainly use it. But, I hope you will
be gentleman enough not to steal every thing we
have in the house."
Frank s face reddened to the very roots of his
hair at this insult, and he replied, in a voice choked
"No, madam, we shall disturb nothing. I hope
you do not take us for thieves;" and he turned
and tried a door, (several of which opened off the
room in which the lady was sitting), but it was
fastened on the other side
"That s a bed-room," exclaimed the lady, an
grily. "I hope you are not going in there!"
" Certainly I am, madam. I am going into
every nook and corner of your house. My orders
A SPUNKY REBEL. 115
were to search your building, and I intend to obey
them. Is there any one in here?"
"Yes, sir; my daughters are in there."
"Then, why don t they open this door?" and
Frank, who was getting out of patience, pounded
loudly upon the door with the butt of his revolver.
"Is that you, mother?" inquired a voice from
"No," answered Frank, "it isn t mother; but
open this door."
" Yes, in a minute."
" Open this door immediately," repeated Frank,
who began to suspect that he had been purposely
But the persons in the room made no reply;
when the boatswain s mate, at a sign from Frank,
raised his foot, and, with one kick of his heavy
boot, sent the door from its hinges. Loud screams
issued from the room, which, as Frank entered,
he found to be occupied by two young ladies, who,
judging from the overturned work-basket, and the
half-finished articles of apparel which were scat-
tered about over the floor, had been engaged in
"Don t be alarmed, ladies," said Frank, "you
116 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
shall not be harmed. Jack," he continued, turn
ing to the boatswain s mate, "just examine that
"Oh, don t," exclaimed one of the young ladies,
"don t, for mercy s sake. Do go away from
" Ellen," exclaimed her mother, who had fol
lowed Frank into the room, " do n t make a child
of yourself. I am surprised at you."
"We shall leave every thing just as we find it,"
said Frank, who was a good deal surprised at the
conduct of the girl. "All we want is the fire
arms, if you have any in the house."
"Yes, we have got some here," said Ellen,
" and I will get them for you ;" and she drew out
from the bed-clothes two beautifully-finished rifles,
a quantity of ammunition, a cavalry sword, and a
double-barreled shot-gun. " There," she exclaimed,
as she handed them to Frank ; " there are no
more in this room. Now, do go away."
" Ellen," said her mother, who was evidently
very anxious about the girl s conduct, "will you
"Don t say any thing to him, Ellen," said her
sister, whose name was Mary; "don t ask any
A SPUNKY REBEL. 117
favors of a Yankee. Let him stay here till dooms
She was interrupted by a loud scream from
Ellen; and the mate, who had been "reconnoiter-
\ng" under the bed, exclaimed:
"Here you are! Come out o that, you son of
\ sea-cook ;" and he seized something which strug
gled and fought furiously, but all to no purpose,
for the mate soon pulled into sight a tall man,
dressed in the uniform of a rebel officer.
Ellen screamed and cried louder than ever, and
even her mother could not refrain from shedding
tears ; but Mary, although pale as death, retained
her haughty look, and was evidently too proud to
manifest any feeling in the presence of a Federal
" I know^ed there was something of this kind
goin on, sir," said Jack, turning to his officer, and
giving his pants a hitch; "I knowed, by the way
the young lady handed over them we pons, that
there was something about that bed she did n t
want us to see."
" Yes, Ellen," said the rebel, " I have to thank
you for my capture. If it had n t been for your
crying and whimpering, I might have"
118 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"Escaped," exclaimed Jack. "No, sir; not so
easy. Do n t go to jawin her, now, cause yer
ketched. Come, now," he continued, " let s have
yer we pons."
The rebel coolly handed out two silver-mounted
revolvers, which the mate thrust into his belt.
" Now, I hope you re satisfied," said Mary, im
patiently; "and are ready to go and leave us in
"Not quite," answered Frank. "I have not
yet obeyed my orders. As I said before, I must
see the inside of every room in your house. Jack,
send two men on board the ship with that prisoner."
"Ay, ay, sir," answered the mate, touching his
cap. " Come, you corn-fed, march."
The mother and sisters of the rebel crowded
around him, to say good-by; and, in spite of the
unladylike, and even insulting manner with which
they had treated him, Frank could not help pity
When the mate had seen the prisoner safe or
the boat, he went back, and Frank continued his
search. But no more weapons or prisoners being
found, he and his men returned on board, well sat
isfied with their success.
A SPUNKY REBEL. 119
After supper, as Frank was walking up and
down the deck, arm in arm with one of his brother
officers, the orderly approached, and, touching his
cap, informed him that the captain wished to see
" Mr. Nelson," said the captain, as Frank en
tered the cabin, "come here."
Frank followed the captain to one of the after
windows, and the latter inquired :
"Do vou see that?"
Frank looked in the direction indicated by the
captain, and was surprised to see a rebel flag float
ing from one of the windows of the house.
" Yes, sir ; I see it," said Frank.
" Well, sir, go over there, and tell those women
to have that flag taken in and sent on board this
ship. Don t touch it yourself: they put it out
there, and they must take it in. That J s a pretty
piece of impudence, indeed a rebel flag floating
in the breeze in the face of a Federal vessel of
war ! " and the eccentric captain paced up and
down his cabin, in a state of considerable excite
Frank started off, and in a few moments again
stood before the mistress of the house.
120 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"You re here again, sir, are you?" she asked,
" Yes, ma am," replied Frank, not the least an
noyed by the tone in which he was addressed, or
the sharp glances which the ladies threw at him,
" I m here ; and I came to tell you that the captain
Y/ishes you to have that rebel flag removed from
your window, and sent on board the ship."
" Is there any thing else your captain wants ? "
inquired Mary, with a sneer.
" No, ma am, not at present; but he wishes that
flag taken down immediately."
The ladies made no reply. After a moment s
pause, Frank inquired:
"Do you intend to comply with his orders?"
"I did not put the flag up there," said the
"It makes no difference who put it up there,
madam," said Frank, warmly, "it must come down;
and I would advise you not to hesitate long, for
the captain is not one who can be trifled with."
As Frank ceased speaking, Mary touched a sig
nal-bell, which stood on the table near her. A
servant appeared almost instantly, and the young
A SPUNKY REBEL. 121
this man out."
Frank, who saw that it would do no good to
lemainj put on his cap and followed the servant
"Well, what did they say?" inquired the cap
tain, when Frank again entered the cabin.
" They did n t say any thing, sir," replied Frank.
" They neither said they would, nor they would not,
take it down."
Frank was careful not to say a word about the
manner in which they had treated him, for he knew
it would only irritate the captain, and make mat
" They did n t say whether they would take it
down or not, eh ! " exclaimed the captain. " Please
help yourself to a chair, Mr. Nelson, and, in a few
moments, I will give you your orders."
Frank accordingly took a seat, and the captain
stationed himself at the window, with his watch
in his hand. Frank knew by this that the captain
had granted the rebels a few moments grace ; and
he also knew that, unless the flag came down soon,
and was sent on board the vessel, something un
pleasant would happen. At length the allotted
time expired, and the captain said:
122 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" Mr. Nelson, take a dozen men, and go ashore
Give those women just ten minutes to remove their
furniture, and then fire the house. No building
shall float a secesh flag, and stand, while I have the
power to burn it."
This time the ladies made no remark when Frank
entered the room where they were sitting, for they
knew by his looks that they were about to receive
the punishment their folly merited.
" Madam," said Frank, speaking in a tone which
showed how much he dreaded to break the intelli
gence, " I am ordered to burn your house."
"Yes," answered the mother, bitterly; "I ex
pected that to be your next errand. I suppose
your brutal captain will feel perfectly satisfied
when he sees us deprived of a home."
" I thought the Yankees were too gallant to
make war on women and children," chimed in Mary.
" That has always been their boast," continued she,
" So they are," replied Frank. " But the cap
tain is one who will not tolerate an exhibition of
treason in any one, be it man, woman, or child.
You have no one to blame but yourselves. But
we have no time to waste in argument. I will give
A SPUNKY REBEL. 123
you ten minutes in which to remove your furniture,
and will assist you, if you wish it."
" We can take care of ourselves," said the
mother. "No one asked you for assistance."
Frank made no reply; and the ladies, assisted
by their servants, immediately commenced the re
moval of the most valuable articles , and when the
time had expired, a straw-bed was pulled into the
middle of the floor, a match was applied to it, and
the house was soon enveloped in flames.
Frank could not help pitying the women, who
were thus obliged to stand by and witness the
destruction of their home. But he knew that they
had brought it on themselves, and that they de
served it ; and, besides, he had only done his duty,
for he was acting under orders.
The women, however, did not seem to be in the
least concerned; for when the roof fell in with a
crash, Mary commenced the rebel air, "Bonnie
Blue Flag," and sang it through to the end.
Frank admired her " spunk," even though her
sympathies were enlisted in a bad cause.
He remained until the house was entirely con
sumed, and then returned on board his vessel.
FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
,N the afternoon of the following
day, while it was Frank s watch on
deck, as the Ticonderoga came suddenly
around an abrupt bend in the river, a
puff of smoke rose from behind an em
bankment, about half a mile in advance,
while a shell whistled over the vessel,
and dropped into the water without exploding.
Frank immediately requested the pilot to blow
four whistles, which was a signal to the other boats
that they were attacked; and, after sending the
messenger-boy below to report to the captain, he
raised his glass to his eye, and found that they
were directly in front of a good-sized fort, built
of cotton bales and embankments, and mounting
at least five heavy guns. A Hag-staff rose from
the center of the fort, and supported the " stars
FRANK A PRISONER. 125
and bars," which flaunted defiantly in the breeze.
This was Fort Pemberton, the only formidable
fortification the rebels had between the Mississippi
and Yazoo Rivers.
The captain came on deck immediately, and or
dered the vessel to be stopped; and, when the
other boats came up, they were ordered to take
their stations along the bank, on each side of the
river, out of range of the guns of the fort. When
the entire fleet had assembled, the Ticonderoga,
in company with the Manhattan, steamed down,
and opened fire on the fort, with a view to ascer
tain its strength. The fort replied vigorously, and,
after an hour s firing, the vessels withdrew.
The next morning, at an early hour, the troops
were landed, but, for some reason, it was afternoon
before they were ready to march. At three
o clock they were drawn up in line in the woods,
about two miles from the fort, where the men
stacked arms, and stretched themselves out in the
shade of the trees.
In the mean time the iron-clads had been pre
paring for the fight. The magazines were opened
and lighted ; the casemates covered with a coat of
grease, to glance the shot which might strike them ;
. 26 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the men were at their stations, and when all was
ready, they steamed down toward the fort, the
Ticonderoga leading the way.
Frank, by attention to his duties, had rapidly
learned the gun-drill, and had been promoted to
the command of one of the guns in the turret.
He thought he had become quite accustomed to
the noise of bullets, but he could not endure the
silence that then reigned in the ship. The men,
stripped to the waist, stood at their guns as
motionless as so many statues ; and, although Frank
tried hard to exhibit the same indifference that they
did, his mind was exceedingly busy, and it seemed
to him that he thought of every thing he had
done during his life. Oh, how he longed to hear
the order passed to commence firing ! Any thing
was preferable to that awful stillness.
At length, the captain came into the turret, where
he always took his station in action, and glanced
hastily at the countenance of each of the officers
and men. He seemed satisfied with his examina
tion, for he immediately took his stand where he
could see all that was going on, and gave orders
to the pilot to head the vessel directly toward the
fort ; and then every thing relapsed into that horii-
FRANK A PRISONER. 127
ble silence again. But this did not continue long ;
for, the moment they came within range, the fort
opened on them, and a solid shot struck the case
mate directly over Frank s gun, with a force that
seemed to shake the entire vessel. Frank glanced
at the captain, and saw him standing with his elbow
on the starboard gun, and his head resting on his
hand, watching the fort as coolly as though they
had been engaged only in target practice.
The shells from the fort continued to fall around
them, but the captain neither changed his position
nor gave the order to fire. The port-holes in the
turret were all closed, with the exception of the
one at which the captain stood, and, of course, no
one could see what was going on. Frank began
to grow impatient. He did not like the idea of
being shot at in that manner without returning
the fire. At length the captain inquired :
"What have you in your gun, Mr. Nelson?"
"A five-second shell, sir," answered Frank,
" Very well. Run out your gun and give them
The men sprang to their stations in an instant ;
the ports flew open with a crash, and the hea-vy
128 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
gun was run out as easily as though it had been a
twelve-pounder. The first captain seized the lock-
string; there was a deafening report, and an eleven-
inch shell went booming into the fort. The force
of the discharge ran the gun back into the turret
again, and the ports closed as if by magic. They
did not close entirely, however, for there was a
space of about four inches left between them, to
allow for the action of the rammer in loading.
The gun was sponged, the cartridge driven home,
and the gunner s mate stood at the muzzle of the
gun, removing the cap from a shell, when a percus
sion shell from the fort struck in the space between
the shutters and exploded. The discharge set fire
to the shell which the gunner s mate was holding
in his hand, and the unfortunate man was blown
almost to atoms.
In naval actions there is nothing which will
carry such terror and dismay among a ship s com
pany as the bursting of one of their own shells;
and the scene which followed the explosion in the
turret of the Ticonderoga beggars all description.
Old seamen, who had been in many a hard-fought
battle, and had stood at their guns under the most
deadly fire the enemy could pour upon them, with-
FRANK A PRISONER. 129
out flinching, now deserted their stations, and ran
about through the blinding and suffocating smoke
that filled the turret, with blanched cheeks, tram
pling each other under their feet, and utterly dis
regarding the commands of their officers, who ran
among them with drawn swords, and endeavored
to force them back to their guns. It was some
time before quiet was restored, and then Frank
found, to his horror, that, out of twenty-five men
which had composed his gun s crew, only ten were
left. Four had been instantly killed, and eleven
badly wounded. The deck was slippery with blood,
and the turret was completely covered with it.
The shrieks and groans of the wounded and dying
were awful. Frank had never before witnessed
such a scene, and, for a moment, he was so sick he
could scarcely stand. But he had no time to waste
in giving away to his feelings. After seeing the
dead and wounded carried below, he returned to his
station, and, with what was left of his gun s crew,
fought bravely during the remainder of the action.
The fight continued until after dark, when the
captain, knowing that it would be impossible to
capture the fort without the assistance of the
troops, ordered a retreat.
130 FllANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
That same night a consultation of the naval and
military commanders was held, and it was decided
to renew the attack on the following morning. A
battery of two thirty-pounder Parrotts was taken
off one of the " tin-clads " and mounted on the
bank, about half a mile back in the woods, and a
mile from the fort. Captain Wilson, who com
manded one of the musquito boats, was ordered to
take command of it, and Frank, at his own request,
was permitted to accompany him as his a^d. He
started early the next morning with fifty men, who
had been detailed from the gun-boats, and at sun
rise was at his station.
The battery was masked, and the rebels knew
nothing of its existence. The captain s orders
were, not to fire until they heard the action opened
by the iron-clads. Twenty-eight men were re
quired to man the guns, and the others, armed with
Spencer rifles, were to act as sharp-shooters.
Frank, to his surprise, soon learned that this was
all the support they were to have, the troops hav
ing been ordered to take the same station they had
occupied the day before, and to hold themselves
in readiness to charge upon the fort, as soon as
the iron-clads had silenced the guns.
FRANK A PRISONER. 131
About ten o clock the fort commenced firing, and
Frank knew that the gun-boats were again under
way. At length a loud report, which he could
have recognized among a thousand, blended with
the others, and, in obedience to the order of the
captain, the men tore away the bushes which had
masked the battery, and the fight became general.
Frank directed his fire upon a pile of cotton-bales,
which protected one of the largest guns of the fort;
but, as fast as he knocked them down, the rebels
would recklessly spring out of the fort and put
them up again. At length Captain Wilson ordered
the sharp-shooters to advance five hundred yards
nearer the fort. The rebels soon discovered this,
and the cotton-bales were allowed to remain where
they had fallen.
In half an hour that part of the fort was com
pletely demolished ; and the rebels, being without
protection against the sharp-shooters, were obliged
to abandon the gun.
While Frank was congratulating himself on the
fine shooting he had done, and wondering why the
troops were not ordered to charge, he was startled
by the rapid report of muskets behind him. Three
of his men fell dead where they had stood ; and
132 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Frank turned just in time to see a party of rebels
issuing from the woods. They came on with loud
yells; and one of them, who appeared to be the
leader, called out :
" Surrender, now, you infernal Yankees. Shoot
down the first one who resists or attempts to es
cape," he added, turning to his men.
" Stand to your guns, my lads ! " shouted Cap
tain Wilson. " Do n t give ground an inch."
The sailors, always accustomed to obedience,
gathered around their officers, and poured a mur
derous fire upon the advancing enemy, from their
revolvers. The rebels, who were greatly superior
in numbers, returned the fire, and the captain fell,
mortally wounded. But the sailors stubbornly
stood their ground, until the rebels closed up
about them, and Frank saw that escape was im
possible. But he fought like a young tiger, and
determined that he would die before he would sur
render ; for even death was preferable to a long
confinement in a Southern prison.
" Drop that pistol ! " exclaimed a rebel, point
ing his rifle directly at Frank s head, "or I ll
blow your brains out."
"Blow away!" exclaimed Frank, seizing the
FRANK A PRISONER. 133
rebel s rifle, with a quick movement, and firing his
revolver full in his face ; " I 11 never surrender
as long as I have strength left to stand on my feet.
Give it to em, lads !"
The next moment Frank was prostrated by a
severe blow on the head from the butt of a mus
ket, and the sailors, finding that both their officers
were gone, lost all heart, and threw down their
The rebels had scarcely time to collect their
prisoners and retreat, when the troops, who had
heard the noise of the conflict, and started to the
rescue, arrived. But they were too late ; for in
less than half an hour Frank and his men were
safe in the fort, and confined under guard.
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
RANK, as may be supposed, was
not at all pleased with the pros
pect before him. He had often heard
escaped prisoners relate sad stories of
the treatment they had received while
in the hands of the rebels; and, as he
knew that they cherished an especial
hatred toward gun-boatmen, he could not hope tc
fare very welL
The place where he was confined was in the
lower part of the fort, directly in range of the
shells from the iron-clads, and Frank expected to
be struck by them every moment, for the pieces
flew about him in all directions. Oh, how he
prayed that the fort might be taken! He could
see that one of their heaviest guns was dismounted,
THE ESCAPE. 135
and a large detail of men was constantly occupied
in carrying off the dead and wounded.
The firing continued until four o clock in the
afternoon, and then the gun-boats suddenly with
drew. The rebels cheered loudly as they disap
peared around a bend in the river, and Frank gave
up all hope : nothing now remained for him but a
That evening, as soon as it was dark, he, with
the other prisoners, was marched on board the
General Quitman, a large steamer, lying just be
low the fort, and carried to Haines Bluff, and from
thence they went by rail to Vicksburg. Here
Frank was separated from his men, and confined,
for two days, with several army officers, in a small
room in the jail. Early on the third morning he
was again taken out, and sent across the river, into
Louisiana, with about three hundred others. Their
destination, he soon learned, was Tyler, a small
town in Texas, where most of the Union prisoners
captured in Mississippi were confined.
They were guarded by a battalion of cavalry,
under command of the notorious Colonel Harrison,
who called themselves the " Louisiana Wild-cats."
Frank had never before seen this noted regiment,
136 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
and he found that they were very appropriately
named; for a more ferocious looking set of men
he had never met. They all wore long hair and
whiskers; and their faces looked as though they
had never been acquainted with soap and water.
They were armed with rifles, Bowie-knives, and
revolvers, and seemed to take pleasure in boasting
of the number of women and children and unarmed
men they had slain.
They had not made more than a day s march,
when Frank found that his troubles were just com
mencing. He was not accustomed to marching,
and his feet soon became so swollen that he could
scarcely stand on them. The heat was almost in
tolerable; the roads were very dusty, and the
places where they were allowed to obtain water
were many miles apart. Besides, as if to add to
their sufferings, the rebels were continually steal
ing from the prisoners, and, finally, some of them
were left with scarcely any clothing ; and if the
poor fellows ventured to remonstrate against such
treatment, they were shot or bayoneted on the spot.
On the fourth day of the march, Frank noticed
a soldier, just in advance of him, who was so weak
that he could scarcely keep his feet. He had been
THE ESCAPE. 137
wounded in the arm, at the late battle before
Vicksburg, but not the least notice had been taken
of it by the rebels, and he was suffering the most
intense agony. Frank, although scarcely able to
sustain himself, owing to the swollen condition of
his feet, offered his assistance, which the poor fel
low was glad enough to accept. But he continued
to grow weaker every moment, and, finally, in spite
of Frank s exertions, fell prostrate in the rodd.
"What s the matter here?" inquired the colo
nel, w r ho happened to be riding by.
" This man is n t able to go any further," re
" Then he does n t need any of your help, you
young Abolitionist; get back to your place ! Here,
Stiles," he continued, beckoning to one of his men,
and bending upon him a glance of peculiar mean-
ng, " you stay here until this man dies."
The colonel rode up to the head of the column
agaia, and Frank was obliged to move on with the
others. But he could not relieve his mind of a
feeling that something more dreadful than any
thing he had yet seen was about to take place.
He frequently turned and looked back, and saw
the man lying where he had fallen, and the rebel,
138 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
who had dismounted from his horse, standing over
him, leaning on his rifle. At length a bend in the
road hid them from sight. In a few moments,
Frank heard the report of a gun, and pres
ently the rebel rode up, with the coat, pants, and
boots which had once belonged to the soldier,
hanging on his arm. Such scenes as this were
enacted every day; but, for some unaccountable
reason, Frank was not molested, beyond having his
boots stolen one night while he was asleep. He
had made up his mind that he would escape at the
first opportunity ; but he was in no condition to
travel, and, besides, the sight of several ferocious
blood-hounds, which accompanied the rebels, was
enough to deter him from making the attempt.
After a march of two weeks, during which he
suffered more than he had thought it possible for
him to endure, they arrived at Shreveport. Here
they encamped for the night, with the understand
ing that they were to start for Tyler which w/as
one hundred and ten miles further on early the
next morning. Frank concluded that he had
walked about far enough. " If I intend to escape,"
he soliloquized, " I might as well start from here
as from Tyler. I 11 play off sick, and see if I
THE ESCAPE. 139
can t get them to leave me here ; and then, as soon
as I become strong enough to travel, I 11 be missed
some fine day."
Accordingly, the next morning, when the pris
oners were ordered to "fall in," Frank did not
stir; and, when the sergeant came to arouse him,
he appeared to be in the greatest agony. So well
did he play his part, that the doctor declared that
it was impossible for him to go on; and he was ac
cordingly left behind. As soon as the prisoners
had gone, he was carried to the hospital, which was
a large brick building, standing on the outskirts of
the town. The lower floor was used as a barrack
for the soldiers who guarded the building, and the
upper rooms as a hospital and guard-house. Frank
found about fifteen Federal soldiers, and as many
rebels, who were confined for various offenses, prin
Frank soon became acquainted with his fellow-
prisoners, and the stories they told of their treat
ment made the cold sweat start out all over him ;
but when he spoke of escape, he was surprised to
find that there was not one among them who dared
to make the attempt. But this did not alter his
determination. He resolved that, rather than re-
] 10 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
main in prison, he would go alone. He grew
stronger every day, and succeeded in securing a
pair of shoes, and a compass, for which he gave
the last shirt he had. His determination was to
take to the woods, until he had escaped pursuit, and
then strike for Red River. He knew that this
route would bring him out a good distance below
Vicksburg, but still it would be easier and safer
than traveling across the country; and he hoped
that the rebel stronghold would be taken by the
time he reached the Mississippi River.
Finally, one dark night after he had well ma
tured his plans he concluded to make the trial.
So, waiting until every one in the room appeared to
be asleep for he had been told that there were some
who must know nothing of his intention he care
fully raised one of the windows, and looked out.
He had made all his observations beforehand, and
knew that the window was about twenty feet above
the ground. He had tried in vain to obtain a
rope strong enough to assist him in his descent;
and his only alternative was, to hang by his hands
and "drop** to the ground, where, he hoped, aided
by the darkness, to escape the fire of the guards.
He was crawling noiselessly out of the window,
THE ESCAPED 141
when he was startled by the creaking of the stairs,
as if some one was descending them; and, at the
same time, hasty footsteps sounded under the win
dow. Frank saw that he had been discovered, and,
hastily climbing back into the room, he closed the
window and threw himself on the floor, and ap
peared to be fast asleep.
" Very well done ! " exclaimed an officer, who
suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs. " Very
well done, indeed. Now, you young Yankee, I
do n t Avant to see you try that move again. If you
do, I shall be obliged to shoot you. Do you under
Frank replied in the affirmative ; and the officer,
after satisfying himself that the prisoners were all
in the room, went below again, leaving a guard at
the head of the stairs, who kept a close watch upon
Frank until morning.
He was a good deal annoyed and perplexed at
the unsuccessful termination of his adventure ; but
he could not make up his mind what it was that had
led to his discovery. Still, he was not discouraged ;
but, in spite of the officer s warning, determined to
renew his attempt at escape, as soon as an oppor
tunity was offered.
142 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
The next day, while he was eating his scanty din
ner, the lieutenant in charge of the prisoners came
in, and, as was his custom, began to argue with
them as to the probable termination of the war.
Frank had always hoped that he would let him
alone, for the lieutenant invariably became enraged
if the prisoners endeavored to uphold their Govern
"Well, young man," he exclaimed, walking up
to Frank, "how do you get along?"
"As well as can be expected, I suppose," an
"How do you relish being a prisoner? Are
you not sorry that you ever took up arms against
" No, I am not," answered Frank, indignantly.
"You ll have to fight me again, as soon as I get
out of this scrape."
"What made you come down here to fight us?"
" Because I thought you needed a good drub-
"Well, we haven t had it yet;" said the lieu
tenant, stroking his moustache. " Why did n t you
take Fort Pemberton? You got the worst of it
there. We sunk the Ticonderoga."
THE ESCAPE. 143
" Oh, yes," answered Frank, with a sneer, " no
doubt of it. But, on the whole, I think you had
better tell that to the marines."
" You do n t believe it, then ! Well, how do you
think this war is going to end ? "
" Now, see here," said Frank, u I wish you would
travel on, and let me alone. I am a prisoner, and
in your power; and I do n t want to be abused for
speaking my mind; for, if I answer your ques
tions at all, I shall say just what I think."
u That is what I like," said the lieutenant.
"You need not be afraid to speak your mind
freely. Now, tell me, how do you think this
struggle will end ? "
"There is only one way for it to end, and that
is in your subjugation."
"But what is your object in fighting us?"
" To preserve the Union ! "
" You re a liar ! " shouted the lieutenant.
" You re fighting to free the niggers."
Well, have it your own way," answered Frank.
"But, if I in a liar, you re a gentleman, so take it
and go on. You need not ask me any more ques
tions, for I shan t answer them."
The lieutenant muttered something about hang-
144 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
ing every Yankee he could catch if he could have
his own way, and moved away; and Frank was
left to finish his dinner in peace.
That afternoon, a soldier, whose name was Cabot,
came and sat down beside Frank, and inquired :
" Did n t you try to escape last night?"
" Yes, but I was discovered."
"You would not have been, if one of our own
men had n t split on you."
"What!" exclaimed Frank, "you don t pretend
to say that a Federal soldier was mean enough to
inform against me?"
" Yes, I do ; and there he stands now." And, as
Cabot spoke, he pointed to a tall, hard-featured
man standing by the window, looking out into the
street. "I slept at the head of the stairs last
night, and distinctly heard him tell the guards that
you were intending to leave. His name is Bishop,
and he belongs to the Thirtieth Maine Regiment.
He has for some time past been trying to be al
lowed to take the oath of allegiance to the South."*
"What will he do then?" inquired Frank; "go
into the rebel army?"
* A fact.
THE ESCAPE. 145
"No, but he could be employed here in the ar-
eenal, making bullets to kill our own men with."
" The scoundrel ! " exclaimed Frank, indignantly ;
"I didn t suppose there was a man from my own
State who could be guilty of such meanness."
"Ho is mean enough for any thing. Haven t
you noticed that every night he comes around
through our quarters with a candle ? "
"Yes; but I don t know what he does it
"Well, he counts us every night before he goes
to sleep, and, in fact, comes through our room two
or three times in the night, to see that none of us
have escaped. He hopes in that manner to gain
favor with the rebels. I have told you this, in or
der that you may look out for him the next time
you try to escape."
Frank was astounded at this intelligence, and, at
first, he did not believe it. But that evening,
about nine o clock, Bishop came in, as usual, with
his candle, and Frank inquired:
"What made you tell the guard that I was going
to escape last night?"
The question was asked so suddenly and in a
manner which showed Bishop that Frank was well
146 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
acquainted with his treachery that he dared not
deny the charge, and he answered :
" Because, when any of our boys escape, the
guards are awful hard on those of us that are left."
"That s no excuse at all," answered Frank,
"If you were a man, you would have endeavored
to escape long ago, instead of staying here and
trying to make friends with the enemies of your
country. You re a black-hearted scoundrel and
traitor! and I tell you, once for allj that if you
ever come into my quarters again after dark,
you 11 never go out alive. We all know about
your operations here."
Bishop made no reply, but turned to walk on,
when Frank rose to his feet, and exclaimed:
"Hold on, here! you are not going through
this room with that candle. Go back instantly
where you belong, and don t show your face in
Bishop saw that Frank was in earnest, and, with
out saying a word, he turned and walked into his
Frank had a twofold object in talking to him
as he did. He wanted to let him know that his
fellow-prisoners all knew what he had done, and
THE ESCAPE. 147
he wished, also, to deter him from coming into
that room again, as he had deti Trained to make
another attempt at escape that very night. The
traitor had no sooner disappeared than Frank de
scended the stairs that led down into the hall,
at the foot of which there were two guards
"Hallo, Yank!" said one of them, as Frank
came down, "I reckon as how you had better
travel right back up sta rs agin, cause it s agin
orders to low you fellers to come down here a ter
"I know it is," answered Frank; "but it is so
awful hot up stairs that I can t stand it. You 11
let me stay down here long enough to cool off a
little, won t you?"
"Wai," answered the guard, who really seemed
to be a kind-hearted fellow, " I reckon as how you
mought stay here a minit; but you mustn t stay
"All right," answered Frank; and he seated
himself on the lower step, and talked with the
guards until he was informed that it was high time
he was " travelin back up sta rs."
" Very well," answered Frank, rising to his feet,
148 FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
and stretching himself, "I ll go, if you want me
And he did go. With one bound he dashed by
the astonished guards, and, before they could fire
a shot, he had disappeared in the darkness.
His escape had been accomplished much easier
than he had anticipated. He had expected at
least a shot from the guards, and, perhaps, a
struggle with them ; for, when he left his quarters,
he had determined to escape, or die in the attempt.
In a few moments he reached the bushes thnt
lined the road on both sides, and threw himself
flat among them, and determined to wait until his
pursuers had passed on, so that he would be on
their trail, instead of having them on his. It was
well that he had adopted this precaution, for he
had scarcely concealed himself before the roll of a
drum announced that the guards were being
aroused, and that the pursuit was about to com
mence; and presently a squad of cavalry dashed
rapidly by, and a crashing in the bushes told him
that a party of men were searching the woods for
him. As soon as his pursuers were out of hear
ing, Frank rose to his feet, and ran along the road,
close to the bushes, so that, if he heard any one
THE ESCAPE. 149
approaching, he would have a place of concealment
close at hand. He had made, perhaps, half a mile
in this way, when he discovered a man pacing up
and down the road, with a musket on his shoulder.
lie was evidently a picket; and Frank, knowing
that his comrades were not far off, drew back into
the bushes, out of sight. Which way should he
go now? This was a question which he could not
answer satisfactorily. There was, doubtless, another
picket-post not far off, and if, in going through
the woods, he should stumble upon it, he would be
shot down before he had a chance for flight.
Should he attempt to pass the sentinel by strategy?
This seemed to be the most feasible plan, for he
would have a much better chance to escape in
running by one man, than risking the shots of half
a dozen. Besides, he had no weapon whatever,
and he resolved to secure the picket s gun, if pos
sible; so, waiting until his back was turned, he
came out of his place of concealment, and ap
" Who comes there ? " shouted the picket.
"A friend," answered Frank.
"Advance, friend, and give the countersign."
"Never mind the countersign," answered Frank;
150 FRANK ON A GIN-BOAT.
" I have n t got it. Have you seen any thing of an
escaped Yankee prisoner out here?"
"No," answered the rebel, lowering his gun,
which he had held at a charge bayonet. u llo
did n t come around here. But a company of
cavalry went by just now, and my relief went with
"And left you here alone?" said Frank, who
had continued to approach the picket, until he was
now within arm s length of him.
a Yes," answered the rebel ; " and I think it is
a pretty way to do business, for it is time I was "
He never finished the sentence ; for Frank
sprang upon him like a tiger, and seizing his throat,
with a powerful gripe, threw him to the ground;
and, hastily catching up the musket which had
fallen from his enemy s hand, dealt him a severe
blow on the head. The muscles of the rebel in
stantly relaxed ; and Frank after unbuckling his
cartridge-box, and fastening it to his own waist
shouldered his musket, and ran boldly along the
road. He traveled until almost daylight, without
Becing any one, and then turned off into the woods.
About noon, he came to a road, and, as he was
crossing it, a bullet whistled past him, and, the
THE ESCAPE. 151
next moment, a party of rebels, whom lie had not
noticed, dashed down the road in pursuit. Frank
returned the shot, and then started for the woods,
loading his musket as he went. He soon had the
satisfaction of seeing that he was gaining on his
pursuers, and, although the bullets whizzed by his
head in unpleasant proximity, he escaped unhurt.
The rebels, however, were not so fortunate ; for
Frank fired as fast as he could load his gun, and
at every shot a rebel measured his length on the
For almost two hours his pursuers remained
within gun-shot ; but finding it impossible to cap
ture him, or, perhaps, struck with terror at his skill
as a marksman, they abandoned the pursuit. This
was a lucky circumstance for Frank, for, to his
astonishment and terror, he discovered that his last
cartridge had been expended. But still, he was
rejoicing over his escape, when a man rose out of
the bushes, close at his side, and seized him by the
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
AL, now, I ll be dog-gone, but you
are lively on your legs, for a little
one," exclaimed the rebel, with a
laugh. " But you re a safe Yank
"Not yet, I ain t," answered
Frank. " I want you to understand
that it s my principle never to surrender without a
fight ;" and, suddenly exerting all his strength, he
tore himself away from his captor, leaving part of
his collar in his grasp.
The rebel was taken completely by surprise, for
he had supposed that Frank would surrender with
out a struggle ; but the latter brought his musket
to a charge bayonet, in a way that showed he wag
in earnest. The rebel was the better armed, car
rying a neat sporting rifle, to which was attached
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 153
a long, sharp saber-bayonet. Frank noticed this
difference, but resolutely stood his ground, and, as
he was very expert in the bayonet exercise, and
as his enemy appeared to be but very little his
superior in strength and agility, he had no fear as
to the result of the conflict.
At length the rebel, after eyeing his youthful an
tagonist for a moment, commenced maneuvering
slowly, intending, if possible, to draw him out.
But Frank stood entirely on the defensive; fail
ing in this mode of attack, the rebel began to grow
excited, and became quicker in his movements.
But his efforts were useless, for Frank although
a little pale, which showed that he knew the struggle
must end in the death of one or the other of them
did not retreat an inch, but coolly parried every
thrust made by his infuriated enemy, with the skill
of a veteran. The rebel was again obliged to
change his plan of attack, and commenced by
rushing furiously upon Frank, endeavoring to
beat down his guard by mere strength. But this
proved his ruin; for Frank met him promptly at
all points, and, watching the moment when the rebel
carelessly opened his guard, he sprang forward and
buried his bayonet to the hilt in his breast. The
154 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
thrust was mortal, and the rebel threw his arms
above his head, and sank to the ground without a
" I believe he s done for, 7 said Frank to him
self; and he stepped up to take a nearer look at his
enemy. There he lay, his pale face upturned, and
the blood running from an ugly wound in the region
of his heart. " I do believe he is dead," repeated
Frank, with a shudder, as he gazed sorrowfully at
the work he had done. " But there was no al
ternative between his death and a long confinement
in prison. It was done in self-defense;" and he
turned to walk away.
Just then the thought struck him that he would
take the rebel s gun ; his own was worse than use
less, for his cartridges had all been expended. So,
throwing down his heavy musket, he picked up the
rifle his enemy had carried, and, slinging the
powder-horn and bullet-pouch over his shoulder,
he started off through the woods.
But where should he go? His escape, and the
manner in which it was accomplished, had doubt
less aroused the entire country. The woods around
him were filled with rebels, and the question was,
in which .direction .should he turn, to avoid them?
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 155
After some hesitation, he determined to go as di
rectly through the woods, toward the river, as
possible, and, if discovered, trust to his woodcraft
and swiftne>s of foot to save him. With this de
termination, he shouldered his rifle and walked
rapidly on, taking care, however, to keep a good
look-out on all sides, and to make as little noise
as possible. All sounds of the pursuit had died
away, and the woods were as silent as midnight.
But even this was a source of fear to Frank ; for
he knew not what tree or thicket concealed an en
emy, nor how soon the stillness would be broken
by the crack of a rifle and the whistle of a hostile
At length the sun went down, and it began to
grow dark ; but still Frank walked on, wishing to
get as far away from the scene of the fight as pos
sible. Presently he heard a sound that startled
him : it was the clatter of horses hoofs, on a hard,
well-beaten road. Nearer and nearer came the
sound, and, in a few moments, a company of cav
alry passed by, and Frank could distinctly hear
them laughing and talking with each other.
When they were out of hearing, he paused to
deliberate. It was evident that he could not travel
156 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
through those deep woods at night ; should he wait
until it became dark, and then boldly follow the
road, or should he remain where he was until morn
ing? There was one great objection to the first
proposition, and that was his uniform, and the
danger he would run of being captured by the
night patrol, which he knew were stationed at in
tervals along the road. It did not seem possible
for him to remain where he was ; for now, that he
had partly got over his excitement, he began to
feel the cravings of hunger ; in fact, it almost ren
dered him desperate, and he began to wish that he
had surrendered without a struggle, or that he had
not attempted to escape at all, for, if he were a
prisoner, he could probably obtain sufficient food to
keep him from starving. But he knew that his
time was too precious to be wasted with such fool
ish thoughts ; besides, when he thought of home
and his mother, who had evidently heard of his
capture, all ideas of surrendering himself vanished,
and he felt that he could endure any thing, even
starvation, if he only had the assurance that he
would see home once more. But he knew that
wishing would not bring him out of his present
difficulty: he "must work for his liberty; do every
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 157
thing in his power, and leave the rest to Provi
He started out again, and determined that his
first step should be to reconnoiter the road. No
one was in sight ; but, about a quarter of a mile
down the road, on the other side, was a large plant
ation-house, with its neat negro quarters cluster
ing around it, and looking altogether like a little
village. He knew that some of the cabins were
inhabited, for he saw the smoke wreathing out of
the chimneys ; could he not go to one of them, and
obtain food ? He had often heard of escaped pris
oners being fed and sheltered by the negroes ; why
could not he throw himself under their protection?
He must have something to satisfy his hunger ;
and if he could but gain the woods on the oppo
site side of the road, it would require but a few
moments to reach the house. He determined to
try it. Glancing hastily up and down the road,
he clutched his rifle desperately, and started. A
few rapid steps carried him across the road; he
cleared the fence at a bound, and was out of sight,
in the bushes, in a moment. He immediately
started for the nearest cabin, and, in a few mo
ments, came to a stand-still in a thicket of bushes
158 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
just behind it. There was some one in the cabin,
for he could see a light shining through the cracks
between the logs ; and he distinctly heard the mu
sic of a violin, and a voice singing :
"The sun shines bright in my ole Kentucky home"
But still he hesitated to advance ; his courage had
failed him. What, if the negro for he was cer
tain it was a negro in the cabin should betray
him ? What if His reverie was suddenly inter
rupted by the approach of a horseman on the road.
Presently a rebel officer rode leisurely by. When
he arrived opposite the house, a man, who was sit
ting on the portico, and whom Frank had not
noticed, hailed the horseman, who drew in his rein,
" Have you caught them all yet ? " inquired the
man on the portico.
"No," answered the officer; "not yet. One
of them gave us the slip ; a little fellow ; belongs
to the gun-boats. He s around here somewhere ;
but we 11 have him to-morrow, for he can t escape.
If he comes around here, and you think there is
any chance to take him alive, just send down to
the Forks for us. If not, you had better shoot
TIIE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 150
him. 1 would n t advise you to meddle with him
much, however, for he s a dead shot, and fights
like a cuss."
"Did he kill any of the boys?" asked the man
on the portico.
" Yes ; he killed Bill Richards, who was on
guard at the time he escaped, and stole his musket
and cartridge-box. I suppose you heard of that.
And then, when we got after him, he ran through
the woods like a deer, loading his gun as he went,
and every time he turned around, somebody had
to drop. Finally, old Squire Davis s son overtook
him, and they had a regular hand-to-hand fight;
but the little one, as usual, came out at the top of
" Did he kill young Davis ? "
" Yes, as dead as a smelt ; stuck a bayonet clean
through his heart. But I must be going. Keep
an eye out for him ! "
"All right," answered the man on the portico;
and the horseman rode off.
What Frank s feelings were, as he lay there in
the bushes, and listened to this conversation every
word of which he overheard we will not attempt
to say. But it showed him that his enemies feared
160 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
him, and dreaded to meet him single-handed ; and
that, if he were retaken, his life would not be worth
a moment s purchase. He had all along been per
fectly aware that his case was desperate, and that
he had undertaken something at which many a per
son, with twice his years and experience, would
have hesitated. His condition seemed utterly
hopeless. He had never before realized his danger,
or what would be his fate if he were captured ; but
now all the difficulties before him seemed to stand
out in bold relief. Yet this knowledge did not act
upon him as with some persons ; it only nerved him
for yet greater exertions, and with a determination
to brave every danger before him.
When the horseman had disappeard, and the
man on the portice had returned to his seat, Frank
again turned his attention to the cabin. After
putting a new cap on his rifle, he threw it into the
hollow of his arm, and crawled noiselessly out of
his place of concealment. When he reached the
cabin, he raised to his feet, boldly ascended the
steps, and knocked at the door, intending, if his
demand for food was not instantly complied with,
to take it by force.
"Who dar?" inquired a voice from the inside.
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 161
Frank made no reply, but was about to repeat
the summons, when the door was thrown open, and
an old, gray-headed negro woman appeared before
him. Frank was about to make known his wants,
when the woman, who had thrown the door wide
open, to allow the light to fall upon him, ex
"Why, de Lor Almighty bress us! Come in,
chile. What is you standin out dar for? Come
in, I tol you." And Frank was seized by the arm
and pulled into the cabin, and the door was closed
carefully behind him.
"Stop dat ar fiddlin , ole man," continued the
w r oman, addressing herself to an aged negro, who
was seated in an easy chair in the chimney corner ;
"stop dat ar fiddlin , an git up an give young
massa dat cheer."
"I don t wish to give you any trouble," said
Frank. "I m not the least bit tired; but I would
like something to eat."
"No trouble t all, chile," said the old woman.
"Now, don t you go talkin bout trouble. I
knows who you is. Set down .dar." And the
old w r oman pointed to the chair which the man
had vacated. "I ll give you somethin to eat,
162 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
right away. Pomp, ole man, git up an cut some
o dat ham;" and the woman bustled about in a
state of considerable excitement.
Frank hid his rifle behind a coat which hung in
one corner of the cabin, and was about to take
possession of the chair, when hasty steps were
heard on the walk leading to the cabin.
"Gorry mighty!" exclaimed the old negro, in
alarm, "dar come de oberseer. Git under the
bed quick, young massa. You 11 be safe dar
Frank had hardly time to act upon this sugges
tion, when the door suddenly opened, and a shaggy
" Have n t you had your supper yet, Pomp,
you black rascal?" inquired the overseer, wit
nessing the preparations for cooking that were
" I J s only been home a few minutes, massa,"
"Well, hurry up, then. I came here," continued
the overseer, "to tell you that there is a Yankee
prowling around, here somewhere; if he comes
here, I want you to send for me. Do you under
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 163
" Yos, massa," answered Pomp.
"Don t you feed him, or do any thing else lor
him," continued the overseer. "If you do, I ll
whip you to death. Now, mind what I tell you."
And the overseer closed the door, and departed,
to carry the same information and warning to the
As soon as the sound of his footsteps had died
away, Pomp whispered :
"All right now, young massa. You can come
out now no danger. The oberseer won t cx)me
to dis house g in dis night."
Frank, accordingly, crawled out from under the
bed, and seated himself in the easy chair, while
the old woman went on with her cooking. In a few
minutes, which seemed an age to Frank, however,
the meal, which consisted of coffee, made of
parched corn, ham, honey, and corn-bread, was
ready. Frank thought he had never eaten so
good a meal before. He forgot the danger of his
situation, and listened to the conversation of the
old negro and his wife, as though there was not a
rebel within a hundred miles of him.
"There," he exclaimed, after he had finished
the last piece of corn-bread, and pushed his chair
1(34 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
back from the table, " I believe I ve eaten supper
enough to satisfy any two men living."
"Has yer had enough, chile?" asked the old
woman. " I s glad to see yer eat. I wants to
do all I can for you Yankee sogers."
" Oh, I ve had a great plenty, aunty," answered
Frank, as he rose from the table. "Now, I must
bid you good-by," he continued, as he pulled his
rifle out from its hiding-place. " I shall never be
able to repay you; but"
"Lor A mighty, chile!" interrupted the old
woman, "whar s you gwine? You mustn t say
one word bout gwine out o dis house dis night.
I s got a bed all fixed for you, an Pomp will
wake you up early in de mornin , an show you de
way fru de swamp."
"Put away dat gun, young niassa," chimed in
Pomp ; " dere s no danger."
Frank could not resist this appeal, for the bed,
which the old woman had made for him in one
corner of the cabin, rough as it was, was a pleas
ant sight to his eyes. So, after hiding his rifle
under one of the quilts, where he could get hig
hand upon it at a moment s warning, he threw
himself upon the bed without removing his clothes,
THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 165
and was fast asleep in a moment. It seemed to
him that he had hardly closed his eyes, when a
hand was laid on his shoulder, and Pomp s voice
whispered in his ear:
"Wake up, young massa: most daylight."
"You sleep mighty sound, chile," said the old
woman, as Frank rose from the bed. "I s sorry
to be blig ed to sturb you, but you must be gwine
now. Here s a little bite for you to eat." As
she spoke, she handed Frank a haversack, such as
he had often seen used by the soldiers of the rebel
army, filled with corn-bread and cold ham. Frank
slung it over his shoulder, and, after pulling his
rifle out from under the bed, said :
"Aunty, I thank you for your kindness to"
"Lor A mighty, chile!" interrupted the woman,
" do n t say one word bout dat, I tol you. I s
sorry we can t do more for you ; but you must go
away now. May de good Lor bress you."
The tears rolled down the old woman s cheeks
as she said this, and Frank silently shook her
hand, and followed Pomp out into the darkness.
166 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
HE moon had gone down, the stars
were hidden by thick, heavy clouds,
and it was so dark that it was im
possible to distinguish the nearest ob-
- jects. Every thing was as silent as
death ; but this did not affect the vigi
lance of Pomp, who led the way with
noiseless steps, pausing, now and then, to listen.
They met with no difficulty, however, and, in a few
moments, the plantation was left behind, and they
entered the swamp. It was a chilly, gloomy place,
and the darkness was impenetrable ; but Frank re
lied implicitly on his guide, who seemed to under
stand what he was about, and kept as close behind
him as possible.
For an hour they traveled without speaking ;
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 1()7
at length Pomp stopped on the bank of a narrow
but deep stream.
u Can you swim, young massa ? " he inquired,
turning to Frank.
" Yes, like a duck," was the reply.
"1 s mighty glad to h ar it," said Pomp;
" "cause den you re safe. But I s been mighty
oneasy bout it, cause, if you can t swim, you re
kotched, shore. Now," he continued, " I must leave
you here, cause I do n t want to let any one know
dat I s been away from de plantation. You must
cross dis creek, and foller dat road," pointing to a
narrow r , well-beaten bridle-path on the opposite
bank, "an dat will lead you straight to de Red
Ribber. Y~ou must keep a good watch, now, cause
you 11 h ar something fore long dat 11 make you
wish you had nebber been born. I s heered it
often, an I knows what it is. Good-by; an de
Lor bress an protect you ; " and, before Frank
could speak, Pomp had disappeared.
Alone ! The young hero had never before com
prehended the. full meaning of that single word, as
he did now. Alone, in an almost unbroken forest,
which was filled with enemies, who were thirsting
for his blood ; with no one to whom he could go
168 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
for advice or assistance. Is it to be wondered that
he felt lonely and discouraged ?
He looked back to the scenes through winch he
had passed: the fight; his capture; the long, weary
march, under a burning sun; his treatment in ths
prison, the escape, and the pursuit; the hand-to-
hand struggle in the woods ; all came up vividly
before him, and he wondered how he had escaped
unhurt ; and, then, what had the future in store for
him ? The warning of the faithful Pomp was still
ringing in his ears, and a dread of impending evil,
which he could not shake off, continually pressed
upon him. For the first time since his escape,
Frank was completely unnerved. Seating himself
on the ground, he covered his face with his hands,
and cried like a child.
But this burst of weakness did not continue long,
for he did not forget that he was still in danger.
Hastily dashing the tears from his eyes, he rose
to his feet, and prepared to cross the stream.
Holding his rifle and ammunition above his head
with one hand, he swam with the other, reached
the opposite bank in safety, and followed the path
into the swamp. A mile further on, he came to
another stream, and was making preparations to
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 1G9
cross it, when lie was startled by a voice, which
sounded from the opposite bank :
" Who goesh dere ? "
Instead of replying to the challenge, Frank
sprang behind a tree, and, looking across the stream,
discovered a tall, powerfully-built man, dressed in
"butternut" clothes, holding his rifle in the hollow
of his arm. In an instant Frank s gun was at his
shoulder, and his finger was already pressing the
trigger, when the man exclaimed :
" What for you shoot ? I be a friend."
Frank, although fearful of treachery, lowered his
gun, and the Dutchman, moving out of the bushes,
leaned on his rifle, and inquired:
" Where you go ? I guess you been a gun-boat
feller; ain t it?"
" Yes," answered Frank, " I once belonged to
a gun-boat. But who are you ? "
" Me ? Oh, I was a captain in the army. Sher
man gets licked at Wicksburg, an I gets took
brisoner; an purty quick me an anoder feller
runs away. Here he is;" and, as the Dutchman
spoke, a man wearing a shabby Confederate uni
Frank s mind was made up in an instant. Be-
170 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
yond a doubt this was but a stratagem to capture
him. But he resolved that he would never sur
render, as long as he had sufficient strength to
handle his rifle.
" Well, my young friend," exclaimed the man
in the rebel uniform, " this is a nice dress for a
Federal officer to be wearing, isn t it?"
" I do n t believe that either of you are officers
in the Federal army," answered Frank. " It s my
opinion that you are both rebels. If it is your in
tention to attempt to capture me, I may as well tell
you that your expectations will never be realized,
for I shall never be taken alive;" and Frank
handled the lock of his gun in a very significant
" I admire your grit," said the man, " and I ac
knowledge that you have strong grounds for sus
picion. But we are really escaped prisoners."
" Yah," chimed in the Dutchman, "I shwear dat
" It is no fault of ours," continued the man,
"that we are wearing rebel uniforms; for we were
compelled to exchange with our captors, and were
obliged to accept these, or go without any."
"What regiment do you belong to?"
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 171
"The One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois
Infantry, Company K. I formerly belonged to
the Forty-sixth Maine."
" Do you know any of the boys belonging to
Company B, f the Forty-sixth Maine Regi
Oh, yes," replied the man, "I know Harry
and George Butler, Ben Lake, and, in fact, all the
boys ; for I once belonged to that very company.
My home is only twenty miles from Lawrence,
the place where the company was raised."
Frank did not stop to ask any more questions,
for he was satisfied that he had fallen in with
friends. How his heart bounded at meeting one
who had lived so near his o\\n home ! He hastily
crossed the stream, and, seizing the man s hand,
shook it heartily.
"I am overjoyed at meeting with you, sir," he
said, in a voice choked with emotion. "Perhaps
I owe you an apology; but you will acknowledge
that it is best to be on the safe side."
"Certainly it is," answered the man. "I
should have done exactly as you did, if I had
been in your place. But where are you travelling
172 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" I want to reach Red River, as soon as possible."
"So do we! But we have lost our reckoning,
and do n t know which way to go."
"I do," said Frank. "This path leads directly
They did not linger long to converse time was
too precious for that but immediately struck
into the path, Frank leading the way. He soon
learned that the names of his newly-found friends
were Major Williams and Captain Schmidt. They
had been captured, with two hundred others, at
the battle of Vicksburg, and had escaped while
being taken into Texas. They had accomplished,
perhaps, half a dozen miles from the place where
they met, when the breeze bore to their ears a
sound that made Frank turn as pale as death, and
tremble as though suddenly seized with a fit of the
ague. They all heard it; but he was the only one
who knew what it was.
"What ish dat, ony how?" coolly inquired the
Before Frank could reply, the fearful sound was
repeated, faint and far off, but still nearer than
"Merciful heavens!" ejaculated the major, who
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 173
now understood their situation; "is it possible you
do n t know what that sound is ? It is the cry of
"Oh, yah!" exclaimed the captain, as though
the idea had suddenly come into his head, "I did
think it vas a dorg."
"Push ahead now, boys, for Heaven s sake!"
exclaimed the major. "Push ahead as fast as
The captain evidently did not comprehend the
danger of their situation; but Frank and the
major knew that their lives depended upon the
next few moments. Oh, how thankful was Frank
that he was not alone ! He now knew the mean
ing of Pomp s warning; and the dreadful sound
had so unnerved him, that it was with great diffi
culty he could keep on his way. But this lasted
only for a moment. His fear changed to indig
nation, and a desire to execute vengeance on
men who could be guilty of such barbarity. It
seemed as though the strength of a dozen men
was suddenly infused into him ; so, shouldering
his rifle, he ran along the path with a speed that
made it difficult for the Dutchman to keep pace
with him. But, fast as they went, the fearful
174 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
sound grew louder and louder; and, finally, they
distinctly heard the clatter of horses hoofs, and
voices cheering on the dogs.
"Hurry on, for mercy s sake," said the major.
Mine Gott in Himmel!" ejaculated the cap
tain, who was puffing and blowing like a porpoise;
" I can t run no faster. I guess it s petter we
stops and fights em, ain t it? I been not a good
feller to run ! "
"You must run a little further," said Frank.
" We will certainly be captured, if w r e stop to fight
The captain made no reply, but kept along as
close behind the major as possible. Frank s swift
ness of foot was standing him well in hand now,
for he frequently found himself obliged to slacken
his pace, in order to alloy/ his friends to come up
with him. But his usual confidence was gone.
He knew he could not stand that rapid pace much
longer. Soon they must stop and fight; and what
if the dogs, which would, undoubtedly, be some
distance in advance of the horsemen, should over
power them? Frank had often read of. the feroc
ity of these blood-hounds, and the thought of being
pulled down and torn to pieces by them in those
JHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 175
dark woods, and the knowledge that his mother
and sister would forever remain ignorant of his
fate, was terrible. Suddenly, an abrupt bend in
the path brough them to the banks of another
of those narrow streams with which the country
was intersected like a net-work. What a cheering
sight it was to Frank s eyes ! He now saw some
chance for escape; and, without hesitating a mo
ment, he plunged into the water. The others
were close at his heels, and a few bold strokes
brought them to the opposite shore.
"Here we are," said the major. "Our chance
for escape is rather slim, but we will make a stand
They had scarcely concealed themselves in the
bushes, when one of the hounds appeared on the
bank. He was followed by another, and still an
other, until eight of the terrible animals were in
sight. They followed the trail of the fugitives
down to the edge of the water, where, finding
themselves at fault, they separated, and commenced
beating up and down the bank, now and then look
ing toward the Opposite shore, and uttering their
bays, which sounded in Frank s ears like the knell
176 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"I pelieve I shoots one of them dorgs, ain t it?"
said the captain; and he thrust his rifle cautiously
through the bushes.
"No, no," commanded the major, "save your
ammunition. The men will be here in a minute.
Here they come now." And, as he spoke, there
was a loud crashing in the bushes, and four horse
men came in sight.
"Thunder!" exclaimed one of them, who wore
the uniform of a colonel, "I was in hopes we
should catch the rascal before he reached this
place. Here, Tige," he continued, addressing a
powerful white hound, "hunt em up, hunt em
The hound ran down to the edge of the stream,
and barked and whined furiously, but still hesitated
to enter; for hounds are always averse to going
"Hunt em up, sir!" shouted the colonel, an
The dog, evidently, feared his master more than
the water, for he plunged in, and commenced
swimming toward the place where Frank and his
companions were concealed ; and the others, after
a little hesitation, followed him.
DEATH OF THE WHITE HOUND.
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 177
"Ready, now, boys," whispered the major.
" Captain, you shoot that white hound. Frank,
you take the colonel, and I ll attend to the man
just behind him. Don t waste your lead now."
The three rifles cracked in rapid succession, and
the colonel and one of his men fell heavily from
their saddles. The white hound gave one short
howl of pain, and sank out of sight. Every shot
had reached its mark.
The remaining rebels stood aghast at this sudden
repulse; and the smoke of the rifles had scarcely
cleared away, when they wheeled their horses, and
disappeared in the woods.
The death of the white hound produced no less
consternation among his canine assistants, for they
each gave a short yelp, and turned and made for
FRANK ON A GUN -BOAT.
S our time, boys," exclaimed the
major; "come on, and load your
guns as you run ;" and he started rap
idly down the path.
All sounds of the rebels were soon
left behind ; but our party kept on
their way, until they emerged from
the woods, and found themselves in full view of a
" I pelieve somebody lives in that house," ex
claimed the captain, drawing back in the bushes.
"No doubt of it," answered the major.
" Let s move back into the woods a little further,
and eat some dinner," said Frank ; and he turned
to walk away, and felt for the haversack the negro
woman had given him. But it seemed that he was
THE RESCUE. 179
destined to disappointment, for the haversack was
During all the perils he had encountered that
day, he had been buoyed up by the thought that
he had food sufficient to last him for a day or two,
and that he was in no danger of suffering the pangs
of hunger. But now his spirits fell again to zero.
" How unfortunate ! " he exclaimed. " But it ? s
just my luck."
" Yes, it is too bad," said the major ; " for now
we shall be obliged to run the risk of being cap
tured, in order to procure food. But let us move
on, and get as far away from this place as possible."
Frank silently shouldered his rifle, and followed
the major, who threaded his way along in the edge
of the woods, taking care to keep out of sight of
any one who might be in the house. They kept
on until dark, and then halted in the rear of an
other plantation, to hold a consultation relative to
the manner in which they should obtain food.
" Well," said the major, " we must have some
thing to eat, that s certain ; and the only way I
can think of, is to draw lots to see who shall go up
to the house after it. It is a dangerous undertak
ing, but that is the fairest way to see who shall rur.
180 FRANK ON A SUN-BOAT.
the risk ;" and the major selected three sticks of
different lengths, and continued, as he held them
out to Frank, in his closed hand, "Now. the one
that draws the shortest stick must go to the house
and procure us some food."
Frank drew first, then the captain, and the major
took the one that was left. The lot fell upon
"Now," said the major, as he shook Frank s
hand, " be careful of yourself, my friend. We will
remain here until you return. When you get into
the woods give two low whistles, that we may know
that it is you. Good-by."
Frank silently returned the pressure of the ma
jor s hand, and moved away. He climbed over the
fence that ran between the woods and the plant
ation, and walked fearlessly toward the house.
He was not at all pleased with the part he had to
perform, for he remembered the danger he had run
the night before; but his determination was to do
his duty, and trust to his skill to carry him safely
He shaped his course toward the negro quarters,
which were in the rear of the house ; but he soon
discovered tha-t these were entirely deserted. He
THE RESCUE. 181
carefully examined all the cabins, in hopes of find
ing a hen-roost, but in vain. His only alterna
tive was to try the house. There was a light
shining in the window, and Frank determined to
reconnoiter the premises, and, if possible, learn who
were in the house, before asking admittance. With
this intention he shouldered his rifle, and was about
to move forward, when he was startled by the
sound of horses hoofs behind him, and a voice ex
Hullo, my friend ! Have you an extra bed in
the house, for a soldier?"
Frank turned, and found that the horseman was
so close to him that flight was impossible. His first
impulse was to shoot him where he sat ; but he was
still ignorant of the number of persons there might
be in the house. Perhaps it was filled with sol
diers. The report of his gun would certainly alarm
them, and might lead to his capture. Besides, the
man had addressed him as though he were the
proprietor of the plantation ; perhaps he might be
able to obtain some information. So he answered,
with some hesitation :
" Yes, I suppose there is an extra bed in the
house; but I should really like to know who and
182 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
what you are, before I agree to accommodate
" I am Lieutenant Somers," answered the rebel ;
"and I belong to the Seventeenth Georgia In
fantry. You belong to the army too, do you not?"
he continued, noticing the brass buttons on Frank s
It was a lucky circumstance for the young hero
that the night was so dark, or he would certainly
have been discovered.
" Yes," he answered, in reply to the rebel s ques
tion, "I am in the service. But what are you do
ing around here this time of night ? "
" I have been hunting after an escaped Yankee
prisoner a gun-boat officer."
"Did you catch him?" inquired Frank.
"No; but I caught two others. I chased this
gun-boat fellow with blood-hounds; but when I
overtook him, I found that he had been reinforced
by half a dozen others, and I was obliged to re
treat. The scoundrels killed Colonel Acklen and
one of his men, and the best blood-hound in Loui
" Where are the prisoners you captured ? " in
quired Frank, hardly able to suppress his exulta-
TIIE RESCUE 183
tion at finding himself face to face with one of the
men who had hunted him with blood-hounds.
/Oh, I left them at the back of the plantation;
one of my men is keeping guard over them ; but
there is scarcely any need of that, for the Yankees
are securely bound."
"They are, eh!" exclaimed Frank, who could
restrain himself no longer. "Well, here is a
Yai kee who is not bound, and never intends to
be ; and he raised his rifle to his shoulder, and
glan ,td along the clean, brown barrel. "I am the
gun-Soat fellow you were pursuing with blood
hounds. So, if you wish to live five minutes
longer, do n t attempt to make any resistance."
The rebel was taken so completely by surprise
that he could not utter a word, but sat on his horse
as motionless and dumb as though he had been
suddenly turned into a statue.
" Come down off that horse ! " commanded his
The rebel obeyed, without hesitation.
u Now, have you got any dangerous weapons
about you ? " inquired Frank. " Tell the truth,
now, for your life is n t worth a picayune."
" Yes," answered the rebel, " I have a revolver
184 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
and a Bowie-knife ;" and he raised his hand to his
" Hands down ! hands down ! " exclaimed Frank ;
"I want to examine your pockets myself;" and
he stepped forward and relieved the rebel of a
Bowie-knife, a revolver, several cartridges, a flint
and steel, and some papers. These, with the ex
ception of the revolver, he laid carefully on the
ground, and placed his rifle beside them. "Now,"
continued Frank, " it would be a great accommo
dation if you would trade uniforms with me. The
people in this part of the country do n t seem to
like Uncle Sam s clothes very well. Come out of
The rebel hesitated to obey.
"Come out of that coat, Lieutenant Sorners,"
repeated Frank, slowly ; and he raised his revolver
until it was on a line with his captive s head.
The sight of his own weapon, whose qualities
he probably knew full well, brought the rebel to
his senses, and he quickly divested himself of his
"Now, pull off those pants," commanded his
The rebel obeyed; and Frank continued, as he
. THE RESCUE. 185
divested himself of his own clothes : " Now, if you
wish, you can put on these."
The rebel had no other alternative, and he slowly
donned the naval uniform, while Frank quickly
converted himself into a fine-looking rebel lieu
tenant. He then carefully pocketed the articles
which he had taken from the rebel, with the ex
ception of the papers.
"What are these?" he inquired.
" The one in the brown envelope is my appoint
ment, and the others are orders to take my com
pany and act as scouts."
The latter were just what Frank wanted.
"Now," said Frank, going up to the horse,
which had stood patiently by, "I have one more
favor to ask of you, you mean, sneaking rebel, and
then I am done with you. I want you to show
me where you left your prisoners. But, in the first
place, I am going into that house to get something
" I hope to thunder that you will be gobbled
up," said the lieutenant, angrily.
" Easy, easy ! " exclaimed Frank ; " you are
talking treason when you wish evil to befall one
of Uncle Sam s boys ; and I am not one to stand
186 FRANK ON A GUN-BAT.
by and listen to it ; so keep a civil tongue in your
head, or I shall be obliged to put a stopper on
your jaw. As I said before," he continued, " I
am going into that house to get some supper; and.
as I wish you to remain here until I come back, I
shall take the liberty to tie your hands and feet.
That s the way you serve your prisoners, I be
As Frank spoke, he cut the bridle from the
horse with his Bowie-knife, and securely bound the
rebel who submitted to the operation with a very
oad grace and laid him away, as he would a log
of wood, behind one of the cabins
"Now, you barbarian," he continued, as he
shouldered his rifle, and thrust the revolver and
Bowie-knife into his belt, " you are in the power
of one who has very little love for a man who is
guilty of the cruelty of hunting a fellow-being with
blood-hounds; so, if you expect to live to see day
light, do n t make any noise." With this piece of
advice, Frank left his captive, and started for the
He walked up the steps that led to the portico,
which ran entirely around the house, and boldly
knocked at the door. The summons was answered
THE RESCUE. 187
by a fine-looking, elderly lady, who, as soon as she
saw the Confederate uniform, exclaimed :
"Good evening, sir; walk in."
Frank followed the lady through the hall, into
a large room, whose only inmates where three
young ladies, who rose and bowed as he came in
He was very much relieved to find that there were
no men in the house.
" Take a chair, sir," said the elderly lady. " Is
there any thing we can do for you?"
" Yes, ma am," answered Frank. " I am out on
a scout with some of my men, and my provisions
have given out. I have taken the liberty to come
here and see if I could not purchase some from
" We are glad to see you," said one of the
ydung ladies. " I will have some food put up for
you immediately; and you shall have a nice, warm
supper before you go."
" I am under obligations to you, tnadam," an
swered Frank ; " but, really, I can not wait, for I
am on the trail of some escaped Yankee prisoners ;
and, besides, I always make it a point never to fare
better than the men I command."
" I should like to have you stay." said the elderly
188 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
lady, whom Fra.dk set down as the mother of the
girls ; " but you know your duty better than we
do. I wish all of our officers were as careful of
their men, and as devoted to the cause, as you are.
But what regiment do you belong to ? "
" The Seventeenth Georgia," answered Frank.
"Did you catch any of the Yankees you are
" No, ma am, not yet. But we shall have them
before to-morrow night."
" Oh, I hope so ! I suppose you will hang them
to the nearest tree, as fast as you catch them ? "
" No, ma am, I can t do that. They will be
prisoners, you know, and must be treated as such."
" Then bring them here, and I will hang them
for you," exclaimed the lady, excitedly. "I think
our government is entirely too lenient with the
During the conversation that followed, Frank
gained some very valuable information concerning
the plans the rebels had on foot for the capture
of the runaways. He also learned that the lady s
husband was an officer of high rank in the rebel
army, and that she was expecting him home every
moment. Frank, as may be supposed, was not
THE RESCUE. 189
very well pleased with this information, and he
cast uneasy glances toward the door, expecting to
see the officer enter. But his fears were soon set
at rest by the return of the young lady from the
kitchen, with a large traveling bag, filled with pro
When Frank inquired what was to pay, he was
informed that any one who would think of charging
a soldier for provisions ought to be tarred and
feathered and sent into the Yankee lines. This
was good news to Frank, for, if there had been any
thing to pay, he would not have known how to act,
as mot.ey was a thing he had not seen for many
a day. So, after thanking the ladies for their
kindness, and bidding them good-night, he picked
up his provisions and started out.
" Now, you man that hunts Union soldiers with
blood-hounds," he exclaimed, as he walked up to
his captive, and untied the strap with which his
feet were bound, " get up, and lead me to the place
where you left your prisoners ;" and Frank seized
the rebel by the collar, and helped him rather
roughly to his feet.
The rebel made no reply, but led the way down
the road which ran through the plantation. Frank
190 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
followed close behind him, carrying his rifle and
provisions in one hand, and his revolver in "the
other. At length they came to the fence at the
end of the field, and, as he was helping his pris
oner over, a voice from the woods called out :
" Who goes there ? "
" Is that your man?" inquired Frank, in a
whisper, turning to his prisoner.
"Yes," answered the rebel, gruffly.
" Then keep your mouth shut, and let me talk to
him," commanded Frank. Raising his voice, ne
answered to the hail, " Friend ! "
" Is that you, Lieutenant Somers ? " inquired
"Yes," answered Frank. "Come here; I ve
got a supply of provisions, and another prisoner."
" Another Yank, eh ! " said the man ; and Frank
heard him coming through the woods toward him.
" Well, we ve one less to catch, then. Where is
he? Let s have a squint at him."
"Never mind the prisoner," exclaimed Frank,
"but come and take these provisions; they re
The rebel, who could not discover that any thing
was wrong, reached out his hand, and took the
THE RESCUE. 191
traveling-bag from Frank, when the latter sud
denly seized him by the collar, and exclaimed, as
he pressed the muzzle of his revolver against his
" You re my prisoner !"
For an instant the rebel appeared utterly dum-
founded; then, suddenly recovering himself, he
struck up Frank s arm, and, with a quick move
ment, tore himself away from his grasp, and drew
"Kill him, Jake! kill him!" shouted the lieu
tenant, who, of course, was unable to assist his
man, as his hands were securely bound behind his
But Frank was too quick for him, for, before
the rebel could make a thrust with his knife, the
sharp report of the revolver echoed through the
woods, and the man sank to the ground like a
"Now," exclaimed Frank, turning to his pris
oner, " I ve a good notion to shoot you, also.
But I will try you once more ; and I tell you now,
once for all, do n t open your head again to-night,
unless you are spoken to. Now, show me where
you left your prisoners."
192 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" Here we are ! " exclaimed a voice from the
Frank soon found them, and, when he had cut
the ropes with which they were bound, and set
them at liberty, they each seized his hands, and
wrung them in silent gratitude.
"Thank heaven, we re free men once more!"
exclaimed one of the poor fellows. " But where
is that lieutenant that captured us?"
"He s my prisoner," answered Frank.
" Here you are, you thunderin , low-lived se-
cesh ! " exclaimed the man, who had not yet spoken,
as he walked up to the rebel, and laid his hand
on his sLoulder. " I ve a mind to stop your wind
for you, you mean"
"Eas^, easy, boys," exclaimed Frank; "he s a
prisoner, you know, and we Ve no right to put
him in misery simply because he s in our power."
"Why, the varmint hunted us yesterday with
blood-hounds," exclaimed one of the soldiers.
" He served me the same way to-day," answered
Frank; "but, still, we have no right to abuse him.
But I have two more friends around here some
where;" and Frank put his hand to his mouth, and
gave two low whistles. It was answered imme-
THE RESCUE. 193
diately, and a voice, which Frank recognized as the
captain s, inquired :
" Isli dat you, you gun-boat feller?"
" Yes, I m here, captain ; come along."
The Dutchman soon made his appearance, fol
lowed by the major. They had remained in their
hiding-place, and heard all that was going on ; but,
so fearful were they of treachery, that they dared
not come out. Frank briefly related to them the
circumstances connected with the capture of the
lieutenant, and the release of the two soldiers ; after
this a consultation was held, and it was decided
that it would not be prudent to attempt to reach
Red River for a .day or two, at least. The major
thought it best to remain concealed during the day,
and at night boldly follow the road.
This plan was adopted, for the entire party
including the soldiers Frank had just released
were dressed in butternut clothes ; besides this,
the papers which had been taken from the lieu
tenant would greatly assist them, if their plan was
carried out with skill and determination. And, in
regard to the prisoner who, of course, had not
heard a word of the consultation it was decided
to detain him for a day or two, in order that he
194 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
might be led to believe that it was their intention
to keep as far away from Red River as possible,
and then release him.
After their plans had all been determined upon,
Frank opened his sack of provisions, when, eat
ing a scanty meal, they again started forward.
They kept along on the edge of the plantations
until the day began to dawn, and then turned into
the woods and encamped.
A FRIEND IN NEED. 195
the evening, at dark, they re
sumed their journey. They boldly fol
lowed the road, and met with no oppo
sition until just before daylight, when a
voice directly in front of them shouted,
"Now, boys," whispered the major,
"our safety depends upon our nerve. It is so
dark they can t see our faces, so don t be fright
ened at any thing that may happen. Captain,
take care of that prisoner, and remember and
blow his brains out the moment he makes the least
attempt at escape."
" Who goes there ? " shouted the voice again.
"Scouts!" answered the major, promptly.
" Advance, one scout, and give the counter
196 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
The Major accordingly advanced to the place
where the sentry was standing, and the captain
cautiously cocking his musket, placed its cold
muzzle against the prisoner s head, whispering,
between his clenched teeth :
"I guess you hear what the major did said,
ain t it ? Well, then, do n t say somethings."
The laconic captain probably thought this
warning sufficient, for he brought his musket to
an "order arms," and did not afterward even
deign to cast a single glance at the prisoner.
In the mean time, the major was endeavoring
to convince the lieutenant of the guard that, al
though they did not have the countersign, they
were in reality Confederate soldiers.
" It may be that you uns is all right," said the
lieutenant, after reading, by the aid of a dark
lantern, the papers which Frank had captured.
" But, you see, thar s so many of these yere
Yanks running away, that we uns has got to be
mighty careful how we let folks go past."
"I tell you," said the major, speaking as though
he considered himself highly insulted, U I tell you,
that I am on special service by order of General
Taylor. I have been out on a scout to recapture
A FRIEND IN NEED. 197
the very prisoners you have just mentioned. I
have already caught one of them," he added,
pointing to their prisoner, who, let it be remem
bered, was dressed in Frank s uniform.
" If you uns is out on a scout," said a soldier,
who had been aroused from his blanket, and
pressed up to obtain a glance at the major,
" wliar s your bosses?"
" I left them about a mile down the river. I
have already been through your lines once to
night, and I might have gone through this time
without your knowledge, if I had seen fit to do
" Maybe it s all right," said the lieutenant,
shaking his head dubiously ; " but I 11 be dog
gone if I do n t think I ve seen your face some
where before ; " and as he said this he raised the
lantern, and allowed the light to shine full upon
him. Frank, who had been waiting impatiently
for the interview to be brought to a close, gave
himself up for lost when he saw a smile of tri
umph light up the rebel s face. But the major
was equal to the emergency. Meeting the lieu
tenant s gaze without flinching, he replied, care
1H8 FRANK OX A GUN-BOAT
"Very likely you have. I have been in the
service ever since the war broke out. But do you
intend to allow us to proceed, or shall I be obliged
to report you at head-quarters ? Remember, I
can say that you do not keep a very good watch,
seeing I have already passed you once."
This threat seemed to decide the lieutenant,
who replied, " I guess it s all right you uns can
When Frank heard this, it seemed as though a
heavy load had been removed from his breast.
But the hardest part of the trial, with him, had
yet to come. What if he should be recognized?
But he had that risk to run ; so, summoning up
all his fortitude, he marched with his companions
by the guards, apparently as unconcerned as
though he was entering a friendly camp.
The moment they got out of hearing of the
tread of the sentinel, the major turned from the
road and led the way into the woods. After
walking a short distance, at a rapid pace, he
" Perhaps we fooled the rascals, but I think
not. I did n t like the way that lieutenant eyed
,ne I am certain we shall be pursued as soon aa
A FRIEND IX NEED. 199
he can send for assistance ; and the best thing
we can do is to get away from here. So, for
ward, double-quick. Do n t make too much noise
now. Captain, look out for that prisoner."
It was well that the major had adopted the
precaution of leaving the road and taking to the
woods, for, in less than half an hour after they
had passed the guards, a squad of cavalry came
up, having a full and correct description of Frank
and his companions. By some means, the capture
of the rebel lieutenant had become known, and
a portion of his own regiment which had fol
lowed Frank from Shreveport, but which had given
up the chase and returned had again started in
pursuit. The guards were astounded when they
learned that the young gun-boat officer (with
whose flight and subsequent almost miraculous
escapes from recapture every scout in the country
was acquainted) had been within their very grasp,
and a portion of them joined the cavalry in pur
suit ; but, as they kept on down the road, Frank
and his companions again escaped. They had
heard their pursuers pass by, and knowing that
the country would be thoroughly alarmed, and
that it would be useless to attempt to reach Red
200 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
River at present, they directed their course to
ward Washita River, which lay about thirty-five
miles distant, hoping to deceive the rebels as to
their real intentions, and thus, by drawing their
pursuers into the country, leave their avenue of
One clear, moonlight night they halted, as usual,
in the rear of a plantation, and were debating
upon the best means to be employed in obtaining
food, when a man, dressed in a shabby Federal
uniform, was discovered coming slowly toward
them, on the opposite side of the fence that sep
arated the woods from the plantation.
His sudden and wholly unexpected appearance
took them completely by surprise. Frank imme
diately proposed to challenge him. Perhaps, like
themselves, he was a fugitive from a rebel prison,
and in need of assistance. But the captain
strongly opposed this, and was in favor of shoot
ing the man, who still continued to advance, as
if wholly unconscious of the presence of any
one arguing, in his broken English, and with
good reason, too, that the appearance of a Fed
eral uniform in that part of the country bodevl
them no good, but was a sure sign of treachery ;
A FRIEND IN NEED. 201
arid evidently thinking that he had won the day,
he was about to put his plan into execution, when
the major struck up his musket, and shouted :
" Who comes there ? "
The stranger, instead of replying, instantly
threw himself on the ground behind the fence,
out of sight.
" Gott in himmel, major," exclaimed the disap
pointed captain, "I pelieve it s better you shoots
that man purty quick we all gets ketched again ;"
and as he said this the captain, who, although a
very brave man on the field of battle, was very
much opposed to fighting an invisible enemy,
drew himself behind a tree, as if fully .expecting
to see a whole army of rebels rush out of their
concealments upon them.
"Be quiet, captain," said the major. " You
have grown very suspicious lately," Then, rais
ing his voice, he called out : a Whoever you are
behind that fence, whether a friend or an enemy
to the Union, come out immediately, or you are
a dead man."
A deep silence, which lasted for several sec
onds, followed his words. Then came the om
inous click of half a dozen gun-locks, which, in
202 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
the stillness of the night, could be heard a long
The stranger evidently heard it too, for, with
out further hesitation, he arose from behind the
fence, and came forward.
The major allowed him to approach within a
few yards, and then ordered him to halt, and in
" Now, sir ! who and what are you ? Tell the
truth, for you have desperate men to deal with."
" From your language," ans^ ered the stranger,
in a voice so soft that it was almost feminine, but
which, nevertheless, betrayed not the slightest
trepidation, "I should judge that you are escaped
prisoners ; if so, permit me to make one of your
number. If not, you will find me as desperate
as yourselves; for I have suffered too much in
prison to ever allow myself to be taken back
alive ; " and, as he spoke, he displayed a brace of
pistols, w T hich showed that he meant what he said.
" Gott in himmel!" exclaimed the captain,
springing out from behind his tree, and forget
ting, in a moment, all his suspicions, " vos you
captured, too ? We been mighty glad to see you,
A FRIEXD IN NEED. . 203
" Yes," answered the man, " I have been a
prisoner for twenty-two months, and it was not
until three weeks since that I succeeded in mak
ing my escape."
" We 11 take your story for what it is worth, at
piesent," said the major, "for we can not stop to
talk. We must first make some arrangements
about obtaining something to eat, and then we
must be off."
" My haversack has just been replenished,"
said the stranger, " and we have sufficient to last
us for a day or two, at least."
" Well, let us be moving, then."
The major, as usual, led the way, and Frank
walked beside the stranger, who firmly, but re
spectfully, repelled every attempt he made to en
ter into conversation, a circumstance which Frank
regarded with suspicion.
At length day began to dawn, and the fugitives
commenced to cast sidelong glances at their new
companion. He was a tall, slimly-built youth,
apparently but little older than Frank, and his
b:yish face wore a look of care and sorrow, which
if once seen could never be forgotten, and which
showed that, young as he was, his path through
204 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
life had been any thing but a smooth one. His
clothing \\as reduced almost to tatters; but still
there was enough of it left to show that it was
" Uncle Sam s blue ;" and, as Frank surveyed him
from head to foot, he discovered something hang
ing to one of the -shreds of his coat, which im
mediately interested him in the silent stranger.
It was a navy button. This was enough for
Frank, who, forgetting the manner in which his
advances had been received, inquired :
"Are you a naval officer, sir?"
" Yes," answered the youth, in a low voice ;
"or, rather, I was once."
" So was I. Give us your hand."
The sad, gloomy look gave way to a smile of
genuine pleasure, as the stranger grasped the
proffered hand, and shook it heartily.
" What vessel were you attached to, and when
and how were you captured?" inquired Frank.
But his companion had relapsed into his former
state of gloominess arid silence, and seemed to be
pondering upon something at once painful and
Frank made no further attempts to draw him
into conversation, and, just as the sun was rising,
A FRIEND IN NEED. 205
the major gave the order to halt. He also had
noticed the sorrowful look of the young stranger,
and, attributing it to a depression of spirits, which
any one would feel at finding himself in such
circumstances, addressed him, as he came up,
a My friend, you appear to be sorely troubled
about something. Cheer up ; it does no good to
be despondent. I know our case is desperate,
but it is not altogether hopeless. We do not in
tend to be recaptured, as long as one of us has
strength to draw a trigger."
"I am not troubled about that, sir," answered
the youth, throwing himself wearily on the ground.
; The cause of my sorrow dates further back than
rny capture and confinement in prison. I know
that I am not the only one who has suffered dur
ing this rebellion ; but mine is a peculiar case.
I have not known a happy day since the war
commenced. Every tie that bound me to earth
was severed when the first gun was fired on Fort
" Ah!" exclaimed Frank, guessing the truth at
once. " Then your relatives are rebels."
" Yes, they are ; and the most bitter kind of
206 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
rebels, too. I have kept my secret until I can
no longer endure it. I have become completely
discouraged, and am greatly in need of what I at
first shunned sympathy. If you will bear with
me, I will tell you my circumstances. It will
serve to relieve me, and may interest you, and
prove that I am really what I profess to be, an
" Certainly, let us hear it. Go on," said the
Thus encouraged, the youth proceeded :
"My name is George Le Dell; and I am the
youngest son of General Le Dell, of the Confed
erate army. My home is, or rather was, on the
Washita River, about ten miles from this very
place. When I was seventeen years of age, I
was sent North to complete my education, at
Yale College, and was just about commencing my
senior year, when I received this letter from my
Here George paused, and drew from his pocket
a bundle of papers, carefully tied up, and, pro
ducing a letter, from which the writing was al
most obliterated, he handed it to Frank, who read
uloud as follows :
A FRIEND IN NEED. 207
CATAHOOLA PARISH, February 12, 1801.
MY DEAR GEORGE:
Your letter of the 2d ult. was duly received.
Although your ideas of the civil war, to which you seem
to look forward with such anxiety, are rather crude, you are,
in the main, correct in your conjectures as to our intentions.
Secession is a fixed fact. You know it has often been dis
cussed by our leading men, and the election of Mr. Lincoln
has only served to precipitate our action. Had he been de
feated, it might have been put off four years longer; but it
would be certain to come then. For years the heaven-sanc
tioned institution of slavery has been subjected to all the
attacks that the fiendish imaginations of the Yankee aboli
tionists could suggest, and we are determined to bear with
them no longer. We intend to establish a confederacy of
our own, whose corner-stone shall be slavery.
I wish you to come home immediately, as I have secured you
a first lieutenant s commission in a cavalry company, which
is to be mustered into my regiment. Your brothers have al
ready accepted theirs, and are drilling their companies twice
every week. Of course, we do not expect a war, for we have
kept the cowardly Yankees under our thumbs so long that
they will not dare to oppose us. However, we consider it
Oest to be on the safe side.
Inclosed I send you a check for two hundred dollars, which,
I think, will be sufficient to pay all your bills, and to defray
/our expenses home.
Your mother and sisters send their love.
Hoping to see you soon, and to join hands with you in
destroying every vestige of the old Union, I remain,
Yours, affectionately, EDWARD LE DELL.
While Frank was reading this letter, George
had sat with his face buried in his hands, not
once moving or giving a sign of life ; but, as soon
208 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
as the letter was finished, he raised his pale face,
and inquired, in a husky voice :
"What do you think of that? It does not
seem possible that a father, who had the least
spark of affection for his son, could advise him
to follow such a course, does it? Turn the letter
over, and you will see a copy of my answer writ
ten on the back."
It ran as follows :
YALE COLLEGE, March 20, 1861.
MY DEAR FATHER :
You can not imagine with what feelings of astonishment
and sorrow I read your letter of the 12th ult., which was
received nearly three weeks since. The reason for my delay
in replying you can easily divine. Has it, then, come to
this? Is it possible that, in order to do my duty to my coun
try, I must be willing to incur the displeasure of my father?
What would you have me do? Assist in pulling down the
old flag, and in breaking up the best government the world
ever saw? Why, father, this is downright madness. I can
not "join hands" with you in so unholy a cause. On the
contrary, as long as that flag needs defenders, you will find
me among them. You are deceiving yourself when you say
the " cowardly Yankees " will not fight. They are a people
slow to wrath," but they are not cowards, father; and you
will find, to your sorrow, that they will resist, to the death,
"any and every attempt to alienate any portion of this Union
from the rest."
Living in the South, as I have, I have long seen this war
brewing, but was unwilling to confess it, even to myself ;
and I had hoped, that if it did come, my father would not
A FRIEND IN NEED. 209
countenance it. Why will you do it? You never, never can
surceel. The very first attempt you make to withdraw from
your allegiance to the United States will be the signal for a
war. the like of which the world has never witnessed, and
the blood of thousands of men, who will be sacrificed to
glut your ambition, will be upon your own heads.
Inclosed, I respectfully return the check, with many
thanks for your kindness. I can not use it for the purpose
Hoping and praying that you and my brothers will con
sider well before you take the step that will bring you only
suffering and disgrace, and will use all your influence lo
prevent the effusion of blood that must necessarily follow the
suicidttl course you would pursue, I am, as ever,
Your affectionate son, GEO. LE DELL.
"That was the best I could do at the time,"
said George, as Frank finished the letter. "I
believe I must have been crazy when I wrote it.
If I could only have known as much as I do now,
1 think I could have made a much better plea
" Didn t it have any effect upon your father?"
inquired the major.
" Effect! " repeated George. " Yes, it had the
effect of making him disinherit and cast me off,
Read that," he continued, handing Frank another
soiled paper, which looked as though it had been
read and thumbed continually. " I felt like one
with his death-warrant when I received that."
FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
It ran thus :
CATAHOOLA PARISH, March 31, 1861.
In reply to your scandalous and insulting letter, I hav
but a few words to say.
This, then, is the only return you have to make for all
the favors I ha^e showered upon you ! I had expected great
things of you, George, for you have the abilities that would
have raised you to a high position in the South; and it seems
hard that my fond hopes should be dashed to the ground, by
one fell blow, given, too, by your own hand. But I know
my duty ; and now, sir, I have done with you. I cast you
off forever. You will never enter my house again ; and
not a cent of my property shall ever be possessed by you
ho, not even if you were starving. I have instructed my
family to forget that such a person as George Le Dell ever
existed. Take part with our oppressors, if you choose, but
be assured that the justly-merited consequences of your folly
will be visited upon you.
In conclusion, I have to say, that if any more letters are
received from you, they shall be returned unopened.
EDWARD LE DELL.
" Now you can see exactly how I am situated,"
said George, taking the letter from Frank s hand,
and putting it with the others carefully away in
his pocket. " Do you wonder, then, that I am
sorrowful, cut off as I am from all my relatives,
with strict orders never to cross the threshold of
my father s house again, not even if I am dying
for want of food? You have, doubtless, heard
of the malignity displayed by the rebel leader*
A FRIEND IN NEED. 211
toward any Southerner who dares to differ with
them in opinion, and have looked upon them as
idle stories, gotten up for effect ; but I know, by
the most bitter experience, that it is a reality.
Does it seem possible that a person can be so
blind, and act with such cruelty toward a son ?
" When the war was fairly begun," he contin
ued, " I kept the vow I had made that as long
as the old flag needed defenders, I should be
found among them, by enlisting as fourth master,
in what was then called the i Gun-boat Flotilla,
about to commence operations on the Western
waters. I participated in the battle of Island
No. 10 ; was at the taking of Memphis, and at
St. Charles ; when the c Mound City was blown
up, I barely escaped being scalded to death. 1
w r as on the Essex, when she ran the batteries
at Vicksburg, and during the subsequent fight,
which resulted in the defeat of the Arkansas
ram. About a month after that I was captured
with a party of men, while on shore on a foraging
expedition. I fought as long as I could, for I
knew that death would be preferable to the treat
ment I should receive ; but I was overpowered,
and finally surrendered to save the lives of my
212 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
men. The rebels, of course, immediately com
menced crowding about us, and the very first of
ficer I saw was my brother Henry, who had risen
to the position of adjutant, in father s regiment.
He instantly recognized me, and, after giving
strict orders that I should be closely confined,
rode off . I had many acquaintances in the regi
ment. Some of them had been my classmates at
college ; and the story of my treason, as they
called it, was given a wide circulation. I fared
even worse than I had expected. My food was
of the v r ery worst quality, and barely sufficient to
sustain life. I was never allowed a shelter of any
kind, not even a blanket; and, when my clothing
was worn out, I could not obtain another suit.
4 Stici to your dirty blue/ said the officer under
whose charge I had been placed, and every time
you look at it, think of the meanness of which
you lia^e been guilty.
" At length, to my relief, the order came for
me to be transferred to the prison at Tyler.
When I arrived at that place, I was thrust into
an old slave-pen, where I was confined nearly
twenty months before I succeeded in effecting my
escape. I was given to understand that it had
A FRIEND IN NEED. 213
been ordered that I was not to be exchanged, but
might expect to die a traitor s death at no distant
clay. Whether or not this was intended to ter
rify me, I do not know ; but, since my escape, 1
have thought that there were some goad grounds
for fear ; for, during my journey from Tyler to
Shreveport, I was not once out of hearing of the
blood-hounds that were following my trail. The
only support I have had is the consciousness that
I have tried to do my duty. If it were not for
that, I should be the most miserable person in the
world ; and I should not care how soon some rebel
bullet put an end to my existence.
"Although I am now looked upon by my rel
atives as a stranger and an outcast, I have de
termined to visit once more the place which, long
ago, I used to call home. It is only ten miles
from here, and not a step out of our way. Will
you accompany me?"
Of course, this strange proposition at first met
with strong opposition, especially from the cap
tain. But George assured them that there was
not the slightest danger, as all the troops in that
part of the country had been ordered to Fort De
Russy, and were hourly expecting an attack ;
214 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
consequently they would find no one at home ex
cept George s mother, sisters, and a few old ne
groes who were too feeble to work on the forti
fications. Besides, as all the troops were now on
Red River, their safest course would be to aban
don, for awhile, at least, the idea of taking it as
their guide to the Mississippi. This silenced
their objections, and, after the sentinels for the
day had been selected, the fugitives, stretching
themselves out on the ground, and fell asleep all
except Frank, who leaned back against a tree.
While he kept watch over his sleeping com
panions, he pondered upon the history of their
new acquaintance, and admired the high sense of
duty and patriotism that had animated him to
make so great a sacrifice for the sake of the " old
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION.
EXT evening, George took the lead,
and conducted them through the
woods, with a certainty that showed
that he was well acquainted with the
ground over which they were passing.
Not a word did he speak until they
emerged from the woods, and found
before them a large plantation, with the huge,
old-fashioned farm-house, surrounded by its negro
quarters and out-buildings, looming up in the
George gazed upon the scene long and earn
estly, until his feelings overcame him, when he
leaned his head upon his hand, and gave full vent
to his sorrow. He did not weep, but the heaving
of his chest, and the quivering of his whole frame,
showed how severe was the struggle that was
216 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
going on within him. His companions, who well
knew what was passing in his mind, leaned on
their weapons, and silently waited until the burst
of grief had subsided. At length, George recov
ered his composure, and said, slowly:
" It looks natural, boys ; every thing is just as
I left it five years ago. Let us go up to the
house. I must see my mother and sisters once
more. We will say that we* are rebel soldiers,
and want something to eat. My father and
brothers are at Fort De Russy with their com
mands, so there will be no danger."
"But your uniform," said Frank, anxiously,
" that will certainly betray us."
" No danger of that," ansAvered George ; " a
great many soldiers in the rebel army wear the
Federal uniform. There s no danger,"
Frank was far from being satisfied, but he fell
in with the rest, and followed George toward the
house. A few moments walk brought them to a
barn, where they again halted, and, while George
stood feasting his eyes on each familiar object,
the captain bound the rebel lieutenant hand and
foot, and laid him away under a fence-corner; and
left him, with the information that his life de-
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 217
pended upon his observing the strictest silence.
This course was the wisest that could have been
adopted, under the circumstances ; for it would
have been very imprudent to have taken the
prisoner with them, as he could easily have
found means to make himself known.
George again took the lead, and, when they
had almost reached the house, they heard the
sound of a piano, and a female voice singing the
never-failing " Bonnie Blue Flag."
" There you have it," said George, bitterly ;
"but don t stop let s go right in. Major, you
had better go up to the door, and ask them to
give us something to eat. I dare not trust my
self to do it. Be a bitter rebel now, and they
will certainly invite us all in, and we will get
whatever we ask for. Now, boys," he continued,
turning to the others, " do n t watch me too
closely when we get in the house, or you will
The major after making sure that the papers,
which had already been of so much service to
them, were still in his pocket ascended the
broad stone steps that led up to the portico, and
knocked at the door. It was opened by a serv-
218 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
ant, who, after inquiring what he wanted, led the
way into a brilliantly-lighted parlor, where he saw
before him George s mother and sisters.
" Good evening, sir," said Mrs. Le Dell, rising
from her seat. " Is there any way in which we
can serve you?"
The major made known his wants, and a serv
ant was at once dispatched to order supper, and
to -invite the remainder of the fugitives into the
house. As they filed slowly into the room
George bringing up the rear the particular or
ders which the major gave about the muskets
caused the lady to say :
" You need have no fear, sir. The Yankees
have never yet favored us with a visit."
" I know it, ma am." replied the major, accept
ing a chair that one of the sisters offered him,
"but I have been a soldier so long, that I never
omit to make preparations for a fight."
As soon as they were fairly seated, Frank
turned to look at George. "That boy must be
made of iron," said he to himself. " or else he is
among his friends, and we are betrayed;" for, in
stead of being embarrassed, or wearing his habit
ual sorrowful look, he sat easily in his chair, and
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 219
gazed carelessly about the room, as though he
were a perfect stranger there, and not a muscle
quivered, to show the emotion he really felt, as
his eye rested on the familiar faces of his rela
tives. He calmly met their glances, which Frank
thought were directed toward him rather suspi
ciously, but all attempts to draw him into the
conversation that followed, about the war, and
the certainty of speedily overpowering the Yan
kees, and driving them from the land, were una
vailing. Once Frank thought he heard one of
his sisters whisper, "How much he looks like
George!" but he was not recognized, and the
supper, which was enlivened by conversation on
indifferent subjects, passed off pleasantly.
When the meal was finished, a large bag was
filled with provisions, sufficient to last them nearly
a week, and given in charge of one of the sol
diers ; and the major, after thanking the ladies
for their kindness, was about to bid them good
evening, when there was a clatter of horses hoofs
on the walk, then heavy steps sounded in the hall,
and the next moment, to the utter astonishment
and horror of the fugitives, three rebel officers
entered the room.
220 FRANK ON A GUN -BO AT.
They were General Le Dell and his two sons.
Frank s heart fairly came up into his mouth at
this unwelcome intrusion, and his first impulse
was to draw his revolver and shoot the rebels
where they stood; but, on glancing at the major,
who always seemed to have his wits about him, he
abandoned the idea. The major, with the rest,
had seized his musket, but, as the rebels entered,
he returned it to its place in the corner, (motion
ing to the others to do the same,) and, saluting
the general, said, with a smile :
"I beg your pardon, sir. I did not know but
that the Yankees were ii] on us."
" No clanger of that, said the general, with a
laugh ; " you 11 never see them as far up in the
country as this. Pray be seated, sir."
After greeting his wife and daughters, the gen
eral again turned to the major, whom, by his sol
dierly bearing, he at once picked out as the leader
of the band, and inquired :
"May I ask what you are doing up here?
Has not your command been ordered to Fort De
" Yes, sir. But I am out on a scout, by order
of General Taylor."
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 221
" You can have no objection to produce those
" no, sir ! certainly not. Here they are,"
answered the major, drawing from his pocket the
papers which Frank had captured. The general,
after hastily running his eye over them, suddenly
"Why, Lieutenant Somers, how do you do, sir?
I am very glad to meet you again. I heard that
you had been taken prisoner. I am most happy
to see that you have escaped."
This was rather more than the major had been
expecting, and he suddenly found himself placed
in a most awkward position. But his presence
of mind never forsook him ; and, accepting the
rebel s proffered hand, he shook it with apparent
cordiality, and replied :
" Thank you, sir, I, myself, am not sorry to
know that I am a free man once more."
" You probably do not remember me," contin
ued the general, " but I was well acquainted with
your father before he moved to Georgia, and used
to trot you on my knee when you were a little
fellow ; and I do believe you were the ugliest
little brat I ever had any thing to do with. You
222 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
did nothing but yell and screech from morning
until night. But, by the way, your father met
his death in a very singular manner, did he
" Yes, sir very singular very singular, in
deed," replied the major, promptly, as though he
were perfectly familiar with all of the particulars,
although in reality he was sorely puzzled to know
what to say. What if the rebel should ask him
to explain the affair? But the general appeared
to be well enough acquainted with the matter, for
he continued :
"He died like a brave man, and a soldier. I
suppose you intend to take ample revenge upon
the Yankees to pay for it."
" Yes, sir ; and I am now on the trail of the
very man who shot him." The major said this at
a venture; but, fortunately, he was correct in his
surmise as to the manner in which Mr. Somers
departed this life.
While this conversation was going on, Frank
was a good deal annoyed to see that George s
sisters, and one of his brothers, were engaged
in mysterious whisperings, now and then darting
suspicious glances toward his new companion.
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 223
When the general entered, George had risen with
the rest and saluted him, after which he had re
sumed his seat, and the deep blush of excitement
that arose to his cheek had quickly given place to
the same careless look that Frank had before no
ticed. George was also aware that the whisper
ing that was going on related to himself, and it
was evident that his relatives had some suspicions
of who he was ; but, if it caused him any uneasi
ness, he was very careful to conceal it.
At length, one of his brothers drew his chair to
his side, and said :
"Excuse me, sir; but I believe I ve seen you
" I should n t be surprised if you had, sir," an
swered George, steadily meeting the rebel s gaze.
" I know I ve seen you before."
His brother started back in his chair, and a
gleam of triumph shot across his face as he ex
" George, I know you."
" And you will have cause to know me bettei
before this war is over," answered George, forget
ting, in his excitement, all the precautions he had
before adopted to escape being recognized.
224 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
Had a thunderbolt fallen into the room, the as
tonishment of the general and his wife could not
have been greater. They sat in their chairs as
motionless as if they had been suddenly turned
into stone, gazing at their son as though they
could scarcely believe their eyes, while the fugi
tives sat with their hands on their weapons, won
dering what would be the result of George s im
prudence. At length the general, who was the
first to recover from his astonishment, vocif
" You here, you rascal you young traitor ! I
thought you were safe in the prison at Tyler
again by this time."
"No djubt you did," answered George, bitterly.
"But I \n a free man now, and intend to remain
" You are free ! " repeated the general ; " that s
a capital joke. Lieutenant Somers, I charge you
with his safe delivery at Tyler."
The major, greatly relieved to find that the
general still considered him a rebel, was about to
promise that George should be well taken care of,
when the latter, to the astonishment of all, boldly
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 225
* That is not Lieutenant Somers. These gentle
men are all my friends Union to the backbone."
"Eh! what?" ejaculated the general, in sur
prise, scarcely believing what he heard. " These
men all Yankees ? "
" Yes, sir ; every one of them."
" A nice-looking set, surely a fine lot of jail
birds you are."
" So I have been feeding a lot of tyrants instead
of loyal Confederate soldiers," said Mrs. Le Dell,
while the sisters gazed at the young hero with
contempt pictured in their faces.
"No, mother, you have not fed tyrants," an
swered George, with a good deal of spirit, " but
true Union men. It is nothing you need be
" Well, we are ashamed of it," said the general,
who seemed to be fairly beside himself with rage.
"Didn t I tell you never to darken my door
again? Where are you traveling to, and what do
you intend to do?"
" I am on my way North, and I purpose to
join my vessel, if she is still afloat."
"You 11 do no such thing. Just consider
yourselves prisoners all of you."
226 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" no, sheneral, I pelieve not, said the cap
tain, quietly, " cause you see we six been more
as you three."
"No, father, we shall never be taken prisoners
"You are very bold, young man," said the
general, who, as he gazed upon the flushed coun
tenance and flashing eyes of his son, could not
but admire his courage. "This is big talk for a
boy of your age."
"We have already wasted time enough," said
the major, growing impatient. " Captain, relieve
those gentlemen of their weapons."
The order was promptly obeyed, the rebels of
fering no resistance."
" Now," resumed the major, " we shall take
our leave. Good evening."
" You 11 all be in Fort De Hussy in less than
forty-eight hours," shouted the general, " or I am
very much mistaken."
" We 11 be dead men, then," answered George.
" You will never take us there alive."
The fugitives did not linger to converse, but,
made all haste to get into the open air. The
horses belonging to the rebels, which were found
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 227
fastened in front of the house, were immediately
turned loose, and a thrust from the captain s bay
onet sent them galloping up the road.
George silently led the way to the place where
they had left their prisoner, and, as soon as he
was set at liberty, they bent their steps across
the plantation, toward the woods at the rear.
Although George had borne up bravely while in
the presence of his rebel parents, he could con
trol himself no longer, and tears, which he could
not repress, coursed down his cheeks, as ever and
anon he turned to take a long, lingering look at
the place he could no longer call home. Every
emotion he experienced found an echo in the
generous heart of Frank, who was scarcely less
affected than himself. He could not believe that
the scene through which they had just passed
was a reality. It did not seem possible that
parents could address a son in the language that
he had heard used toward George.
The unexpected denouement at the house had
rendered the major and captain doubly anxious ;
for now nothing but the most consummate skill
and daring could save them from recapture ; and,
virile the former kept close watch on the house.
228 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
to catch the first sign of pursuit that should be
made, the latter gave vent to his feelings by
railing, in his broken English, first at George for
proposing such an expedition, and then by depre
cating his own folly for yielding his consent to it.
But there was no help now ; regrets could not
mend the matter, and nothing but rapid flight
could save them.
When they reached the end of the field, George
became suddenly aroused. Brushing away the
tears that dimmed his eyes, he placed himself at
the head of the party, and started on at a rapid
Dace through the woods.
, HITHER he was leading them no
one knew, or cared to ask ; for, if
they had entertained any suspicions
in regard to George, the scene at
the house had dispelled them ; and
knowing that he had as much, if not
more, cause to dread recapture than
themselves, they relied implicitly on him to get
them out of their present difficulty.
The woods were pitch-dark, but George seemed
to understand what he was about, and, for two
hours, not a word was spoken, except, perhaps,
now and then a growl of anger, as some one
stumbled over a log or bush that lay in his way.
Finally, the softness of the ground under their
feet indicated that they were approaching a
swamp. George now paused, and said :
230 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"Major, with your permission, we will stop here
until daylight. It is impossible to go further in
this darkness, for it is an ugly road to travel."
"What makes you take to the swamp?" in
"It is a short cut across the country," an
swered George, " and if we are pursued by blood
hounds we can more easily elude them."
Between sleeping and listening for the noise
of pursuit, the fugitives passed the night. As
soon as day began to dawn, they made a hasty
breakfast on the provisions which they had ob
tained at the plantation, and resumed their jour
ney. George led the way into the swamp, and,
as he seemed to choose the most difficult path,
their progress was necessarily slow and laborious.
About the middle of the afternoon the swamp be
came almost impassable, and the major was about
to suggest the propriety of picking out an easier
path, when George suddenly halted on the banks
of a narrow, but deep and sluggish, stream, and,
wiping his forehead with his coat-sleeve, said, with
something like a sigh of relief:
"Here we are, at last."
" I see we are," said the major, gazing impa-
ALMOST BETRAYED. 231
tiently about on the labyrinth of trees and bushes
with which they were surrounded, u but I had
rather be almost anywhere else. You might as
well get us out of this swamp by the shortest and
easiest path you can find."
" I will, if you order me to do so," answered
George ; " but we are now at as good a harbor
ing place as can be found in a country filled with
enemies, -bent upon our capture, and thirsting for
our blood. I know my father s disposition too
well to think that he will allow us to get off easily.
The country is fairly overrun with cavalry by
this time, and the best thing we can do is to re
main here until the excitement has abated a little,
and then push for Red River again. That high
bank you see over there," he continued, point
ing across the stream, "is an island, and all
the blood-hounds and negro-hunters in Louisiana
would not think of looking for us there. How
ever, I will lead you out of the swamp, if you
After a short consultation, it was decided that
it would be best to accept George s plan, as their
pursuers would never think of looking for them
so near the plantation; and, after divesting them-
232 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
selves of their clothes, they entered the water,
and struck out for the opposite shore. Frank,
who brought up the rear, had scarcely made half
a dozen strokes, when he was startled by a loud
splashing in the water, followed by a noise resem
bling the bellowing of a bull, and looked up just
in time to see the huge, shining body of an alli
gator disappear in the muddy water. The utmost
horror was depicted on Frank s countenance, as
he turned and hastily regained the shore. The
others, who were too far out to return, were no
less terrified, but they had the presence of mind
to retain their hold of their clothing and weapons,
and a few hasty strokes brought them to the
shore. George and the lieutenant were the only
ones who did not seem aware of the danger; for,
when the former reached the shore, he proceeded
to pull on his clothes, and, seeing Frank standing
where he had left him, coolly inquired :
" Why do n t you come on? Can t you swim?"
" Yes," answered Frank ; " but did n t you see
that alligator? I almost ran over him before 1
" 0, that s nothing," answered George, care
lessly. " If alligators were all We had to fear,
ALMOST BETRAYED. 233
we would all be safe at the North in less than
two months. They are death on darkeys, but they
will not touch a white man in the water, if he
keeps moving. There 7 s not the slightest danger.
Frank was very much inclined to doubt this
statement; but, screwing up his courage to the
highest pitch, he stepped into the water again,
and struck out. When he reached the middle of
the stream, he saw a large, black object rise in
the water but a short distance from him, and,
after regarding him a moment with a pair of small,
sharp-looking eyes, it disappeared, with another
of those roars which had so startled him but a
moment before. He kept on, however, and, in
a few moments, reached the shore in safety.
" Now," said George, " there is, or was about
five years ago, a cabin on this island, where our
negroes used to put up when they came here
fishing. Let us see if we can find it."
He commenced leading the way, through the
thick bushes and trees, toward the center of the
island, and, after a few moments walk, they sud
denly entered a small, clear spot, where stood the
cabin of which George had spoken. But a far
234 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
different scene was presented than they had ex
pected ; for a fire was burning near the cabin,
and a man stood over it, superintending the cook
ing of his supper, and conversing in a low tone
with a companion who lay stretched out on his
blanket close by. Both were dressed in the rebel
uniform, and their muskets and a cavalry saber
were hung up under the eaves of the cabin.
George at once hastily drew back into the bushes,
while the captain threw forward his musket, and
" Major, I pelieve it s petter we shoots them
Before the major had time to reply, a large
dog, which the fugitives had not before noticed,
arose from the blanket where he had lain beside
his master, and uttered a low growl, whereat the
rebels seized their weapons, and were beating a
precipitate retreat, when a loud "halt!" from the
major brought them to a stand-still,
" We takes you all two brisoners, said the
captain, as he advanced from the bushes, fol
lowed by the remainder of the fugitives, who
all held their weapons in readiness. "Drop
ALMOST BETRAYED. 235
The rebels did as they were ordered, and the
major said :
" Now we will talk to you. Who and what are
The men hesitated for a moment, and at length
one of them, turning to his companion with a
meaning look, said :
" We re caught, any way we can fix it, Jim,
and we may as well make a clean breast of it.
We are deserters."
" What are you doing here ? "
"We came here to get out of the way of you
fellows who were sent after us. It is as good a
place of refuge as we could find, and, to tell the
truth, we did not think you would discover it.
You must have followed us with blood-hounds."
"No, sir; we did not," exclaimed the major,
indignantly. "What do you take us for sav
"Well, you found us in some way," replied the
rebel, " and I suppose we re done for."
"No, not necessarily. We shall not trouble
you as long as you behave yourselves, for we are
in a bad fix also."
" Are you deserters, too ? " inquired the rebel,
236 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
joyfully. " If you are, we are all right, foi, witl
the force we have, we can defend this island
against as many men as they can pile into Louis
iana. But, shoot me if I did n t think you were
looking after us. I see you have gobbled a Yan
kee," he continued, pointing to the lieutenant
"But, come, sit down and have some supper."
The major was perfectly willing that the reb
els should consider themselves in the presence
of their own men ; and, besides, if they were
really deserters, their being on the island proved
what George had told them, that it was considered
to be a safe place for concealment. The only
cause he had for uneasiness was the presence of
the rebel lieutenant ; if he should find opportunity
to talk to the men, he would soon make known
the true state of affairs.
" Captain," he whispered, turning to that indi
vidual, "keep an eye on that prisoner of ours,
and do not, under any circumstances, leave him
alone with these deserters."
The fugitives then threw themselves on the
ground, under the shade of the trees, and, while
the majority readily entered into conversation
with the rebels, Frank, who had grown suspicious
ALMOST BETRAYED. 237
^f every thing that looked like friendship, in spite
of the cordial manner with which the deserters had
welcomed them, could not, for a long time, satisfy
himself that every thing was right. However, as
he could detect nothing in the actions of the men
to confirm his suspicions, and, as the fact that
their food was supplied to them by a negro, who
visited the island - every night, gave him good
grounds for believing that there might, after all,
be some truth in their statement, he dismissed
the subject for the present, but determined that
the men should be closely watched.
During the two following days, which the
fugitives spent on the island, nothing suspicious
was discovered. Wherever the lieutenant went
he was closely followed by his keeper, and he was
never allowed to be alone with the other rebels.
In fact, he did not seem at all desirous of having
any conversation with them, for, with the excep
tion of taking a short walk about the island after
every meal, he passed both day and night in
dozing in the cabin. The rebels, on the other
hand, appeared to believe him a " Yankee," and
as such, considered him beneath their notice.
Frank was beginning to think that his fears had
238 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
been utterly groundless, when, on the third night,
he was fortunate enough to detect a plot, which,
if carried into execution, would have put an end
to all his hopes of seeing home again, perhaps
It was his duty to stand sentry from dark until
midnight. As he walked his beat, listening for
the signal of the negro, whom he every moment
expected with another supply of provisions, and
thinking over the scenes through which he had
passed since he had entered the service, he* heard
a slight rustling in the bushes back of the cabin,
and saw one of the deserters disappear among the
trees. What could the man mean by moving about
the island at that time of night? There must
be something wrong, for his stealthy movements
proved that he did not wish to be observed.
While Frank was pondering upon the subject,
and debating the propriety of informing the major
of the fact, the lieutenant sauntered leisurely uj
to the place where he was standing, and, stretch
ing his arms, languidly inquired :
" Don t you think it is very sultry this evening?
it is impossible for me to sleep."
This was something unusual for the lieutenant,
ALMOST BETRAYED. 239
, although he had often conversed very freely
with the major, had never before spoken to Frank
since the night of his capture. The latter knew
that the rebel had some object in view, and at
once determined to act as though he suspected
nothing, and to await the issue of affairs.
" Yes, it is very warm," he replied, fanning
himself with his cap. " I shall be glad when I
get North again."
" No doubt of it," answered the rebel, carelessly.
" I believe I 11 go down to the spring and get a
cup of water, if you have no objections."
As soon as he had disappeared, Frank threw
himself on his hands and knees, and crawling to
the edge of the bank, looked over, and saw the
lieutenant and the deserter, whom he had seen
stealing from the cabin, engaged in conversation.
" They will be here to-morrow night, then, with
out fail?" he heard the lieutenant ask.
" Yes, so the negro says," replied the deserter.
" Twelve of them, did you say ? That will make
sixteen, including the negro. There will be none
too many of us, for these Yankees will fight like
perfect demons. If we fail, our lives will not be
worth five minutes purchase."
240 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
" Do not have any fears," replied the other,
"I have made assurance doubly sure, and fail
ure is impossible."
" Well, go back to the cabin now," said the
lieutenant, " for you might be missed."
On hearing this, Frank hastily retreated, and
regained his post. Presently the lieutenant re
turned, and, after giving Frank a drink of water
from his cup, sought his blanket.
"A pretty piece of business, indeed, thought
Frank, as he commenced walking his be it again.
" It is fortunate I discovered it. I 11 kec p a look
out for the negro, and learn all I can frnn him."
He was not obliged to wait long, for j resently
a low whistle, that sounded from the opposite
side of the bayou, told that the negro was in
waiting. Frank answered the signal, when * light
canoe shot out from the shore and app /t iched
the island. In a few moments the negro ^ *lked
up the bank, and, depositing a large bag of pro
visions in the cabin, turned to go back, foil wed
by Frank, who commenced conversation b^ ob
serving, " A warm evening, uncle ; " but, the
moment they were out of sight of the cabh> he
inquired, in a low voice :
ALMOST BETRAYED. 241
" Are those twelve men all ready to come here
" Sar ! what twelve men?" asked the negro, in
well-feigned surprise. " I dunno nuffin bout no
" 0, now, see here, uncle," said Frank, " that
stcry won t do at all, for I know better than that.
You see this is the first chance I have had to talk
to you, for these Yanks watch me so closely.
Now, at what hour are they to be here?"
" I tol you, massa," repeated the negro, " dat
I dunno nuffin bout no men;" and, thinking he
had settled the matter, turned to walk away.
But Frank was not yet done with him, and,
seeing that he was too cunning to be " pumped,"
determined to try what effect the sight of his
weapons would produce. Seizing the negro by the
collar, he pressed the muzzle of his revolver against
his head, whispering, between his clenched teeth:
" See here, you black rascal ! you do know all
about the matter, for you have carried orders
from these rebels here to their friends. So, con
fess the whole truth, instantly."
" I dunno nuffin bout no men, I tol you," per
sisted the negro.
242 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"You won t confess, eh?" said Frank, cocking
his revolver. " Then you re a dead man."
" Lor ! do n t shoot, massa," exclaimed the
now terrified negro. "What shall I fess."
"Confess the truth," replied Frank, "and you
shall not be harmed ; but, if you try to deceive
me, you re a dead darkey. Answer such ques
tions as I shall ask you. In the first place, who
are these men who say they are rebel deserters?"
" One of em is my massa, an de other is a
captain in de army."
" What are they doing on this island ? "
" Dey come here for to cotch young massa
George Le Dell, cause dey knowed he would be
shore for to come here."
" Well, how many men are you going to bring
over here to-morrow night ? "
" Twelve, sar, an I fotch em in de big canoe/
"At what hour?"
" Midnight, when de moon hab gone down, an
my massa is on guard."
Having got this important information, Fr;nk
released the negro, and regained his post without
being discovered. At midnight he called his relief.
and then lay ^own on the ground and fell asleep.
ALMOST BETRAYED. 243
After breakfast, the next morning, as the major
\vent to the spring to fill his cup, Frank, who had
followed close behind him, said suddenly :
" We re in trouble again."
" Yes, and always shall be," answered the
major, coolly, " until we are safe at the North.
But what is the matter now any thing new ? "
u Yes," replied Frank, speaking in a whisper,
lest he should be overheard. " Last night I dis
covered that there is a plot on foot to recapture
us, and the attempt is to be made at midnight.
These men we found here are not deserters, as
they claim to be, but still belong to the army."
The major, as if not at all concerned, raised
the cup to his lips and slowly drained it, keeping
his eyes fastened on Frank, who finally began to
grow impatient, and inquired :
" What shall we do to defeat them ? "
" Keep cool, for one thing," answered the
major. "But tell me all the particulars."
Frank then recounted every $iing that had
transpired. When he had finished, the major
" The rascals played their parts pretty well ; in
fact, very well, indeed. Now, the first thing to
244 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
be done is to go back to the camp and secure
those two fellows. We "11 determine upon oui
They accordingly slowly returned to the cabin,
and found their men engaged, one in sharpening
his bowie-knife,- and the other cleaning his rifle.
The major walked straight up to one of them,
and, seizing his musket, wrested it from him. The
other, comprehending the state of affairs in an in
stant, exclaimed "Betrayed!" and turned to run,
when Frank grappled with him and threw him
to the ground.
"What ish the matter here, any way?" ex
claimed the captain, who was taken so completely
by surprise that he stood riveted to the spot.
"Lend a hand here," answered Frank, strug
gling desperately with his man, "and ask your
The captain at once sprang to Frank s assist
ance ; in a moment, the rebel was disarmed, and
his hands bound behind his back. The major,
in the mean time, having succeeded in securing
his man, gave a hasty explanation of the matter,
and ended by saying :
" There is but one way for us to do, and that
ALMOST BETRAYED. 245
is to leave this place at once. Tie those two
rebels to some of these trees, and then we 11 be
As soon as this was accomplished, and the
major had satisfied himself that there was not
the least chance for their escape, he said :
"Now, we shall leave you here. Your friends
will probably be along at midnight and liberate
The rebels made no reply, and the fugitives,
after collecting their weapons, again set out,
taking the lieutenant with them. The major or
dered George to lead them by the most direct
route to Red River. This was a desperate
measure, but their case was also desperate. The
country on all sides of them had been alarmed,
and, if Red River was closely guarded, the
Washita was equally dangerous.
So anxious were they to put as long a distance
is possible between them and the scene of their
late narrow escape, that they traveled until the
next morning stopping only to eat sparingly of
some provisions which one of the soldiers had se
cured before leaving the island and then camped
in the swamp, and slept soundly.
246 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
HE next evening, as soon as it was
dark, they again started out. For
three days they held their course
straight through the woods, and, finally,
releasing their prisoner, they bent their
steps toward Red River, where, after
many delays, they succeeded in secur
ing a canoe.
They traveled entirely by night, and, in a short
time reached Alexandria, where they landed just
above the village, and went ashore to reconnoiter.
To their disappointment they found that the place
was filled with soldiers, and that a pontoon-bridge
had been thrown across the river, and was guarded
at both ends.
After making all their observations, they re
treated to the bank of the river, and held a con-
ouitation. Should they abandon their canoe, and
strike off through the woods again? There were
many objections to this plan. The country, for
miles around, was, doubtless, filled with encamp
ments, and guarded by pickets, and their progress
would involve both danger and difficulty. Besides,
they were almost worn out with travel and con
stant watching, and, even had there been no ob
stacles in their way, it would have been impossible
for them to sustain a long journey across the
country. It was finally decided to follow the
river. They resolved to run the bridge, and hoped,
aided by darkness, to escape discovery. It was
necessary that some one should guide the canoe,
and, as Frank perfectly understood its manage
ment, he was selected for the purpose.
As soon as the moon had gone down, Frank
seated himself in the stern of the canoe, and his
companions stretched themselves out under the
thwarts, as much out of sight as possible. As soon
as all was ready, he moved their frail craft from
the shore, with one silent sweep of the paddle, turn
ing it toward the bridge.
It was a dangerous undertaking; but Frank,
although perfectly aware of this, and knowing what
248 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
his fate would be if he was recaptured, had nevej
been more cool and self-possessed in his life. He
remained at his station until they were within a
hundred yards of the bridge. He then drew in his
paddle, and laid on the bottom of the canoe, with
the others, awaiting the issue.
Propelled by the force of the current, the canoe
rapidly approached the bridge, and, presently, they
could distinctly hear the sentinels talking with each
other. They had not been expecting an enemy in
that quarter; but, in a few moments, that danger
was passed. For miles below Alexandria, the
river was lined with picket fires, and the slightest
noise would have betrayed them. But they were
not discovered ; and, after a week s journey during
which the papers Frank had taken from the rebel
lieutenant procured them food they reached the
To their disappointment they learned that Vicks-
burg was still in possession of the rebels, and that
they had two hundred miles further to go be
fore they would be among friends again. After
having come so far, they could not be discouraged,
but, taking a few moments repose, they again set
The current in the river was very strong, and
it was a month before they reached Vicksburg.
One dark night, they ran by the city in safety, and
the next morning, to their joy, they found them
selves in sight of a gun-boat, for which they imme
diately shaped their course. As they approached
her, Frank thought there was something about the
vessel that looked familiar; and when they came
alongside, he found that it was the Ticonderoga.
She had been repainted, and some of her rigging
altered, which was the reason he had not recog
nized her before.
Frank almost cried with joy when he found
himself once more on his own ship; and all the
dangers he had undergone were forgotten in a mo
ment. He saw many new officers on board, and a
master s mate met them at the gangway, who, prob
ably, held the position he once occupied.
The captain stood on deck, but did not recognize
him ; and even the old mate, with whom Frank had
been an especial favorite, gazed at him as though
he were a perfect stranger.
"Walk up on deck, men," said the officer who
received them, and who, doubtless, took them for
rebel deserters, " the captain wants to see you."
250 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
IVank led the way up the ladder, and, as they
filed, one after the other, on to the quarter-deck,
the captain inquired:
"Where do you belong, men?"
" I formerly belonged here, sir, answered
Frank, raising his hat ; " and I have the honor to
report myself on board."
"Report yourself on board !" repeated the cap
tain, in a tone- of surprise.
" Yes, sir. I have n t been on board since we
were down Yazoo Pass. I did not intend to re
main away so long, when I left the ship, but I
could n t help it."
"Explain yourself," said the captain, growing
impatient ; " I do n t know what you mean."
"My name is Nelson, sir ; I was captured at"
" Why, Mr. Nelson ! " exclaimed the captain,
seizing his hand with a grip that almost wrung
from him a cry of pain, "is it possible this is
you ? I never expected to see you again. But
who are these with you?"
" They are some of our soldiers, whom I met on
the way down."
Their story was very soon told. When it be
came known that the rebel lieutenant who was
talking with the captain was none other than
Frank Nelson, the quarter-deck was filled with
officers and men, who gathered around the young
hero, congratulating him on his safe return. He
was compelled to relate the particulars of his es
cape over and over again ; and, finally, he and
his companions were taken down into the ward
room, and supplied with clothing more befitting
their stations than that which they wore.
For two days Frank did nothing but answer
questions and relate incidents that occurred dur
ing the flight from Shreveport. But at length the
reaction came, and he, with several of his com
panions, were seized with the fever. For a month
Frank was very ill; but he received the best of
care, and, aided by his strong constitution, the
progress of the disease was stayed.
One day the captain came into his room, and,
seating himself by his bedside, inquired :
"Well, Mr. Nelson, how do you prosper?"
" Oh, I am getting along finely, thank you, sir."
"Do you think you will be strong enough to
" Yes, sir," answered Frank, wondering what
made the captain ask that question.
252 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
"How would you enjoy a trip home?"
"Oh, I should enjoy it above all things, sir. 1
never was away from home so long before, in my
" Well," said the captain, as he rose to go, " you
must hurry and get well as fast as you can. The
doctor told me that he thought you ought to go
North and recruit a little ; so I wrote to the Ad
miral, and obtained you a sick-leave. The dis
patch boat will be along in a day or two, and I will
send you up the river on her. I think it is noth
ing more than right that you should go home for
a couple of months, at least, for you have been
through a good deal for a young man of your age."
The thought that he was soon to see his home
again did Frank more good than all the medicine
the doctor had given him ; and, by the time the
mail steamer arrived, he was able to walk about.
In two weeks they arrived at Cairo. The steamer
had scarcely touched the wharf-boat before Archie,
who had seen his cousin standing on deck, sprang
We can not describe the meeting. To Archie it
was like finding one risen from the dead; for he had
heard of Frank s capture, and had never expected
to see him again. A multitude of questions were
asked and answered on both sides ; and when Frank
informed Archie that he was on his way home,
the latter abruptly left him, and hurried to the
fleet paymaster to ask permission to accompany
his cousin. This, as business was dull, and as
Archie had always been very faithful, was readily
obtained. They made preparations for immediate
departure. After Archie had telegraphed to his
father that Frank was safe taking care, however,
not to say one word about their coming home
they took their seats in the cars, and soon arrived
safely in Portland. Frank remained there only
one day, and then set out for Lawrence.
Only those who have been in similar circum
stances can imagine what Frank s feelings were,
as he stood on the deck of the Julia Burton, and
found himself once more in sight of his native vil
lage. Familiar objects met his eye on every side.
There were the weeds that surrounded the perch-
bed, where he, in company with George and Harry
Butler, was fishing when he made the acquaintance
of Charles Morgan, who was afterward the leader
of the Regulators. Above the perch-bed was the
bass-ground, and to the left was Reynard s Island,
254 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
where the black fox had been captured. Near the
middle of the river lay Strawberry Island, which
had been the silent witness of many a sailing match
between the yachts of the village ; in short, every
thing looked exactly as it did when, just fifteen
months before, he had sailed down the river on
that same steamer, on his way to Portland.
As soon as the steamer was made fast to the
wharf, Frank gave his trunk in charge of a dray
man, and set out on foot for the cottage ; for, im
patient as he was to get home, he wished to have
time to enjoy the sight of each familiar object along
the road; besides, he wished to come in upon his
folks (who little dreamed that he was so near them)
suddenly, and take them by surprise. Every thing
in the village, and along the road, looked as natural
as ever ; not a tree, bush, or stump seemed to have
been removed. At length he reached the bend in
the road which brought him in sight of his home.
He stopped to gaze upon the scene. Not a thing
about the house or orchard had been changed. He
noticed that a part of the rose-bush which covered
his window, and which had been broken off in a
storm the night before he left, still swung loose in
the wind; and even his fish-pole, which he had
up under the eaves of his museum, had not
While he stood thus, trying in vain to choke
back the tears, he was aroused by a well-known
bark; the next moment Brave bounded over the
fence, and came toward his master at the top of
his speed. He had been lying in his accustomed
place in front of the house ; he had seen Frank
approaching, and had recognized him in an in
stant. Frank wound his arms around the faithful
animal s neck, and, after caressing him for a mo
ment, again started toward the house, Brave lead
ing the way, with every demonstration of joy. As
soon as Frank succeeded in quieting him, he walked
through the gate, noiselessly opened the door lead
ing into the hall, and paused to listen.
He heard Julia s voice singing one of his favor
ite songs, while a loud clatter of dishes told him
that Hannah was still in charge of the kitchen.
Brave ran into the sitting-room, barking and
whining furiously, and Frank heard his mothei
" Julia, I guess you did not close the front door
when you came in. Be quiet, Brave. What is the
matter with you?" and Mrs. Nelson, dressed in
256 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT.
deep mourning, came into the hall. The next mo
ment she was clasped in her son s arms.
Let those who have sons and brothers in the
service imagine the joy that prevailed in that
house ! They had heard of Frank s capture,
through Archie and the captain of the Ticonde-
roga, and, afterward, that he was killed at Shreve-
port, while attempting to run by the guards.
" Mother," said Frank, as soon as the greeting
was over, " you told me, when I went away, never
to shrink from my duty, but always to do what was
required of me, no matter what the danger might
be. Have I obeyed your instructions?"
Reader, will you answer the question for her?
and will you follow Frank through his adventures
before Vicksburg and on the Lower Mississippi ?
14 DAY USE
RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED
This book is due on the last date stamped below, or
on the date to which renewed.
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall.
JUL 12 U6 3 SRC 1
CIR. DEC 7
MAR / i999